CCP, Citrulline Antibody

This is a test to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to tell it apart from other types of arthritis. Sometimes it helps check the prognosis of a patient with RA. It is used when a patient has joint inflammation or inflammatory arthritis for which the cause is not known, but your caregiver suspects RA.

CCP can be useful in diagnosing early RA. An elevated CCP can be found in a significant number of patients who have a negative RF, the classic test for RA, and therefore can help to make a diagnosis. According to the American College of Rheumatology, CCP antibodies may be detected in about 50-60% of patients with early RA (as early as 3-6 months after the beginning of symptoms). Early detection and diagnosis of RA allows caregivers to begin aggressive treatment of the condition, minimizing the associated complications and tissue damage.

CCP may also be ordered to help evaluate the likely development of RA in patients with undifferentiated arthritis (those whose symptoms suggest but do not yet meet the criteria of RA). The reason it is useful in confounding clinical presentations is that CCP is a more specific test for RA then the traditional RF. According to American College of Rheumatology, approximately 95% of patients with a positive CCP will develop RA in the future.

CCP is not recommended as a screening test. Like RF, it is best used for patients whose clinical signs suggest RA or who have already been diagnosed with undifferentiated arthritis.

PREPARATION FOR TEST

A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm.

NORMAL FINDINGS

Negative

Ranges for normal findings may vary among different laboratories and hospitals. You should always check with your doctor after having lab work or other tests done to discuss the meaning of your test results and whether your values are considered within normal limits.

MEANING OF TEST

Your caregiver will go over the test results with you and discuss the importance and meaning of your results, as well as treatment options and the need for additional tests if necessary.

OBTAINING THE TEST RESULTS

It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.