Clinical and Immunogenetic Characterization of Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) and Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)

2019-09-30 07:06:55 | BioPortfolio


A multi-centre observational study recruiting prospective and retrospective cohorts of patients with polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) and giant cell arteritis (GCA). The primary aim is to find genetic determinants of GCA and PMR susceptibility, in order to yield novel insights into disease pathogenesis. A subset of the retrospective cohort is also enrolled in a post-marketing surveillance registry of patients eligible for, or receiving tocilizumab, to treat their relapsing or refractory GCA.


Giant cell arteritis (GCA), also known as temporal arteritis, is the most common form of primary systemic vasculitis, with up to 75,000 cases a year identified in the EU and US. It occurs almost exclusively in people over the age of 50 years and is considered to be a medical emergency. If not treated with high-dose glucocorticoids immediately, the thickening of the inflamed blood vessel wall can cause irreversible visual loss or stroke. GCA can lead to significant morbidity across a variety of systems, due to both the disease, and complications of treatment. Diagnosis may be confirmed with a temporal artery biopsy, imaging (e.g. USS/CT/MRA/PET-CR) or based on clinical signs (e.g. erythrocyte sedimentation rate) and symptoms (e.g. a new headache, jaw claudication, visual disturbances, temporal artery abnormality such as tenderness or decreased pulsation) .

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is characterised by inflammatory limb-girdle pain with early morning stiffness, and a systemic inflammatory response demonstrated by elevated inflammatory markers.

The UK GCA Consortium is a multi-centre observational study, the main arms of which recruit prospective (participants with suspected GCA) and retrospective cohorts (participants with confirmed GCA diagnosis). Analysis of data collected on these cohorts will help achieve the primary aim of finding genetic determinants of GCA and PMR susceptibility, in order to yield novel insights into disease pathogenesis. Secondary aims, and their associated analyses, are as follows:

- Phenotype: characterising GCA and PMR subtypes, based on clinical features; imaging; cells; subcellular fractions and molecules in the circulation and/or arterial tissue; genetic/epigenetic/transcriptomic/proteomic or metabolomics factors, including next generation sequencing (whole exome sequencing) of selected cases.

- Life impact: determining what aspects of the disease and treatments affect patients' quality of life, as assessed by patient-reported outcomes.

- Long-term outcomes: characterising prognosis of GCA and PMR - both effects of the disease and its treatment - by longitudinal follow-up through electronic linkage to health records.

- Exploratory analyses: exploring the potential role of environmental factors and co-morbidities on phenotype and outcomes.

- Diagnosis, prognosis: improving diagnosis of GCA and PMR, and identifying factors that predict diagnosis, such as diagnostic clinical features, and prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers.

- Disease activity: monitoring participants who commence a synthetic or biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (s/bDMARD). Finding a biomarker for GCA and PMR disease activity, which might be clinically useful in helping to optimise steroid and s/bDMARD treatments for individual patients.

Study Design


Giant Cell Arteritis


Stoke Mandeville Hospital - Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
United Kingdom




University of Leeds

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-09-30T07:06:55-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A non-neoplastic inflammatory lesion, usually of the jaw or gingiva, containing large, multinucleated cells. It includes reparative giant cell granuloma. Peripheral giant cell granuloma refers to the gingiva (giant cell epulis); central refers to the jaw.

A systemic autoimmune disorder that typically affects medium and large ARTERIES, usually leading to occlusive granulomatous vasculitis with transmural infiltrate containing multinucleated GIANT CELLS. The TEMPORAL ARTERY is commonly involved. This disorder appears primarily in people over the age of 50. Symptoms include FEVER; FATIGUE; HEADACHE; visual impairment; pain in the jaw and tongue; and aggravation of pain by cold temperatures. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed)

Tumors of bone tissue or synovial or other soft tissue characterized by the presence of giant cells. The most common are giant cell tumor of tendon sheath and GIANT CELL TUMOR OF BONE.

A syndrome in the elderly characterized by proximal joint and muscle pain, high erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and a self-limiting course. Pain is usually accompanied by evidence of an inflammatory reaction. Women are affected twice as commonly as men and Caucasians more frequently than other groups. The condition is frequently associated with GIANT CELL ARTERITIS and some theories pose the possibility that the two diseases arise from a single etiology or even that they are the same entity.

Multinucleated cells (fused macrophages) seen in granulomatous inflammations such as tuberculosis, syphilis, sarcoidosis, and deep fungal infections. They resemble foreign-body giant cells (GIANT CELLS, FOREIGN BODY) but Langhans giant cells contain less chromatin and their nuclei are arranged peripherally in a horseshoe-shaped pattern. Langhans giant cells occur frequently in delayed hypersensitivity.

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