Associations of clinical and inflammatory biomarker clusters with juvenile idiopathic arthritis categories.

To identify discrete clusters comprising clinical features and inflammatory biomarkers in children with JIA and to determine cluster alignment with JIA categories.A Canadian prospective inception cohort comprising 150 children with JIA was evaluated at baseline (visit 1) and after six months (visit 2). Data included clinical manifestations and inflammation-related biomarkers. Probabilistic principal component analysis identified sets of composite variables, or principal components, from 191 original variables. To discern new clinical-biomarker clusters (clusters), Gaussian mixture models were fit to the data. Newly-defined clusters and JIA categories were compared. Agreement between the two was assessed using Kruskal-Wallis analyses and contingency plots.Three principal components recovered 35% (three clusters) and 40% (five clusters) of the variance in patient profiles in visits 1 and 2, respectively. None of the clusters aligned precisely with any of the seven JIA categories but rather spanned multiple categories. Results demonstrated that the newly defined clinical-biomarker lustres are more homogeneous than JIA categories.Applying unsupervised data mining to clinical and inflammatory biomarker data discerns discrete clusters that intersect multiple JIA categories. Results suggest that certain groups of patients within different JIA categories are more aligned pathobiologically than their separate clinical categorizations suggest. Applying data mining analyses to complex datasets can generate insights into JIA pathogenesis and could contribute to biologically based refinements in JIA classification.

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