Genetics may affect the risk of undergoing surgery for rhizarthrosis

Cecilie Henkel*, Christian Erikstrup, Sisse R Ostrowski, Ole B Pedersen, Anders Troelsen, DBDS Genomic Consortium

*Corresponding author for this work


Osteoarthritis is a prevalent and severe disease. Involvement of the trapeziometacarpal joint is common and can lead to both pain and disability. Genetics are known to affect the risk of osteoarthritis, but it remains unclear how genetics affect disease trajectories. In this study, we investigated whether the genetic associations of trapeziometacarpal osteoarthritis (rhizarthrosis) vary with the need for surgical treatment. The study was conducted as a case-control genome-wide association study using individuals from the Copenhagen Hospital Biobank pain and degenerative musculoskeletal disease study and the Danish Blood Donor Study (N = 208,342). We identified patients diagnosed with rhizarthrosis and grouped them by treatment status, resulting in two case groups: surgical (N = 1083) and nonsurgical (N = 1888). The case groups were tested against osteoarthritis-free controls in two genome-wide association studies. We then compared variants suggestive of association (p < 10-6 ) in either of these analyses directly between the treatment groups (surgical vs. nonsurgical rhizarthrosis). We identified 10 variants suggestive of association with either surgical (seven variants) or nonsurgical (three variants) rhizarthrosis. None of the variants reached nominal significance in the opposite treatment group (p ≥ 0.14), and all 10 variants were significantly different between the treatment groups at a false discovery rate of 5%. These results suggest possible differences in the genetic associations of rhizarthrosis depending on surgical treatment. Clinical significance: Uncovering genetic differences between clinically distinct patient groups can reveal biological determinants of disease trajectories.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1001-1008
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • genetics
  • GWAS
  • rhizarthrosis
  • surgery
  • thumb


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