Do acetylcholine receptor and striated muscle antibodies predict the presence of thymoma in patients with myasthenia gravis?

Acetylcholine receptor (AChR) and striated muscle antibodies (StrAbs) are found frequently in myasthenia gravis (MG) patients with thymoma. In this study we aimed to determine the positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) of these antibodies for thymoma in patients with MG.
Antibody findings, thymic histology, and onset age were reviewed for 1141 patients with MG. PPV and NPV of these antibodies for thymoma were determined.
The PPV of AChR binding antibodies plus StrAbs was highest (50.0%) with onset before the age of 40 years. The PPV of all antibodies was low (<9%) after age 40. Higher StrAb levels did not increase the PPV. The NPV of AChR binding antibodies was high (99.7%) for all ages.
Patients without AChR binding antibody are not likely to have a thymoma. StrAbs and AChR binding antibodies are not diagnostic for thymoma, but in early-onset MG their presence should raise the clinical suspicion for thymoma.
AuthorsEmily Choi Decroos, Lisa D Hobson-Webb, Vern C Juel, Janice M Massey, Donald B Sanders
JournalMuscle & nerve (Muscle Nerve) Vol. 49 Issue 1 Pg. 30-4 (Jan 2014) ISSN: 1097-4598 [Electronic] United States
PMID23625360 (Publication Type: Comparative Study, Journal Article)
CopyrightCopyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Chemical References
  • Antibodies
  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Receptors, Cholinergic
  • myasthenia gravis anti-skeletal muscle antibody
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies (blood, immunology)
  • Autoantibodies (blood)
  • Biomarkers (blood)
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Striated (immunology)
  • Myasthenia Gravis (epidemiology)
  • Receptors, Cholinergic (immunology)
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thymoma (diagnosis, epidemiology, immunology)
  • Thymus Neoplasms (diagnosis, epidemiology, immunology)
  • Young Adult

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