Extracellular PKM2 (exPKM2) levels have been reported to be increased in several cancers and inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This study aimed to investigate the association of circulating exPKM2 levels with radiographic progression in RA patients and the effect of exPKM2 on osteoclastogenesis. Plasma and synovial fluid exPKM2 levels were significantly elevated in RA patients. Plasma exPKM2 levels were correlated with RA disease activity and were an independent predictor for radiographic progression in RA patients with a disease duration of ≤ 12 months. CD14+ monocytes but not RA fibroblast-like synoviocytes secreted PKM2 upon stimulation with inflammatory mediators. Recombinant PKM2 (rPKM2) increased the formation of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)-positive multinuclear cells and resorption pit in osteoclast precursors, dose-dependently, even in the absence of receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B ligand (RANKL). rPKM2 treatment upregulated the expression of dendrocyte-expressed seven transmembrane protein (DC-STAMP) and MMP-9 via the ERK pathway. Although rPKM2 did not directly bind to RAW264.7 cells, extracellular application of pyruvate, the end-product of PKM2, showed effects similar to those seen in rPKM2-induced osteoclastogenesis. These results suggest that exPKM2 is a potential regulator of RA-related joint damage and a novel biomarker for subsequent radiographic progression in patients with early-stage RA.