What Is Anti-CCP?
Anti-CCP, which stands for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody, is a blood test which helps your doctor confirm a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
When Is It Appropriate to Have the Anti-CCP Test?
Anti-CCP is a very useful test to order during the diagnostic evaluation of a person who may have rheumatoid arthritis. If present in such a patient at a moderate to high level, it not only confirms the diagnosis but also may indicate that the patient is at increased risk for damage to the joints. Low levels of this antibody are less significant. In the past, doctors relied on another antibody, the rheumatoid factor (RF) to help confirm a diagnosis.
Rheumatoid Factor Versus Anti-CCP
While the rheumatoid factor is more common in rheumatoid arthritis patients, many patients with a positive test do not have rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, the presence of the rheumatoid factor has less prognostic significance than the CCP. If your rheumatoid factor is negative, you are less likely to have a positive CCP. Both blood tests are recommended in the initial evaluation of a patient with suspected rheumatoid arthritis.
Answer provided by Scott J. Zashin, M.D., clinical assistant professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Division of Rheumatology, in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Zashin is also an attending physician at Presbyterian Hospitals of Dallas and Plano. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Rheumatology and a member of the American Medical Association. Dr. Zashin is author of Arthritis Without Pain - The Miracle Of TNF Blockers. The book is useful for anyone on one of the biologic drugs (Enbrel, Remicade, Humira) or considering the biologic drugs. Read my review of the book.