CCP antibody testing may also be ordered to help evaluate the likely development of RA in people with undifferentiated arthritis – those whose symptoms suggest but do not yet meet the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for RA. According to ACR, approximately 95% of those with a positive CCP antibody will meet the criteria of RA in the future. Early detection of RA is essential for guiding treatment decisions.
A CCP antibody test is primarily ordered along with an RF test when someone has signs and symptoms that may be due to previously undiagnosed inflammatory arthritis or has been diagnosed with undifferentiated arthritis. It may be ordered as a follow-up test to a negative RF test when clinical signs and symptoms lead a health practitioner to suspect RA. RA usually affects multiple joints symmetrically. Signs and symptoms may include:
Painful, warm, swollen joints of the hands and wrists most commonly
Pain sometimes affecting elbows, neck, shoulders, hips, knees, and/or feet
Stiffness of affected joints in the morning that improves during the course of the day
Development of nodules under the skin, especially at the elbows
When people with signs and symptoms of arthritis are positive for both CCP antibody and RF, it is very likely that they have RA and it is likely that they may develop a more rapidly progressive and severe form of the disease. When people are positive for CCP antibody but not RF, or have low levels of both, and have clinical signs that suggest RA, then it is likely that they have early RA or that they will develop RA in the future.
When individuals are negative for CCP antibody but have a positive RF, then the clinical signs and symptoms are more vital in determining whether they have RA or some other inflammatory condition. When someone is negative for both CCP antibody and RF, then it is less likely that the person has RA. It must be emphasized, however, that RA is a clinical diagnosis and may be made in the absence of positive tests for autoantibodies.
This article was last reviewed on June 12, 2015. | This article was last modified on June 15, 2015.
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