Clinical staging of Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP)

Robert Pignolo, Frederick S. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Fibrodyplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is an ultra-rare genetic condition of heterotopic ossification (HO) that results in progressive loss of joint function, ultimately rendering movement impossible. Death is most commonly the result of thoracic insufficiency syndrome, or complications related to recurrent respiratory infections. There are no current treatments for FOP, but early and emerging clinical trials offer hope for this devastating disease. With the recent reporting of a comprehensive global natural history study, scales to assess joint dysfunction, and a more accurate prediction of joint survival, it is now possible to construct a conceptual framework for the clinical staging of FOP. Based on assessment of FOP features in seven areas, it is possible to assign five clinical stages. FOP features include flare-up activity, body regions affected, thoracic insufficiency, other complications, activities of daily living (ADLs), ambulatory status, and the cumulative joint involvement scale (CAJIS) score. Assessments of these features assign an individual with FOP to early/mild, moderate, severe, profound, or late-stage disease. These criteria seek to be flexible enough to be used by clinicians without reliance on advanced imaging or specialized testing, as well as by investigators involved in research or clinical trial studies who would have these tools available. These staging measures for FOP assess the influence of HO and accelerated joint dysfunction (due to congenital abnormalities) on the ability to perform common functional activities, and thus a delay or lack of progression from one stage to the next represents the ultimate test of efficacy for drug trials. This framework will serve both as a prediction tool for FOP progression as well as a critical opportunity to substantiate therapeutic interventions. The staging system proposed here will permit an accurate assessment of severity to appropriately develop or revise clinical plans of care, define operational research criteria, and identify the effectiveness of interventions. Ultimately, this clinical staging will aid the field in moving toward earlier intervention at a stage where disease-modifying therapies may be most efficacious.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-114
Number of pages4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP)
  • Heterotopic ossification
  • Staging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology


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