This study aimed to explore the predictive value of 10 serum cytokines for clinical response to etanercept (ETN) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Totally 128 active RA patients were enrolled, and their serum cytokines levels were detected by enzyme-linked immune sorbent assay at baseline. All patients received ETN treatment for 24 weeks, and clinical response to ETN was assessed at week 4 (W4), week 12 (W12) and week 24 (W24). There were 40 (31.3%), 74 (57.8%) and 94 (73.4%) patients who achieved clinical response at W4, W12 and W24, respectively. Based on the clinical response status at W24, patients were divided into responders and non-responders. Baseline levels of interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-17A were higher in responders, while baseline levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, IL-6, 1L-8, IL-21, IL-23, intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were similar in responders compared with non-responders. Responders had less of a history of biologics, and higher baseline level of C-reactive protein (CRP) compared with non-responders. Further analysis revealed that CRP and IL-1β were independent factors predicting increased clinical response. Subsequent receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve analysis illustrated that the combination of CRP and IL-1β (AUC: 0.730, 95% CI 0.636–0.824) well distinguished responders from non-responders. In conclusion, IL-1β, IL-17A, CRP and biologics history would serve as potential markers for clinical response to ETN in RA patients.
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