Anti-CCP antibodies are antibodies that appear specifically in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There are several dozen forms of joint inflammation (arthritis). In addition to autoimmune forms such as RA and lupus, there are cases of arthritis due to aging (normal “wear and tear”), gout, fractures or infections (viral, bacterial or fungal). The presence of anti-CCP antibodies helps to confirm the presence of RA among these different causes, establish a prognosis with respect to disease progression, and choose the best possible treatment. Anti-CCP test results are interpreted by a hematologist.
When anti-CCP and RA tests are negative, the arthritis is most likely due to a cause other than RA. In individuals with signs and symptoms of arthritis, positive anti-CCP and RA test results strongly suggest RA, and affected individuals could develop the more progressive and severe form of the disease.
When the anti-CCP test is positive but the RA test is negative or slightly positive, it is probably the early stage of the disease. When the anti-CCP test is negative but the RA test is positive, other clinical data will determine the nature of the arthritis.