The purpose of this review is to underline important advancements in the understanding of cancer risks in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In SLE, there is an increased risk of specific kinds of malignancy. For example, the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is increased several-fold in SLE versus the general population. In addition, heightened risks for lung cancer, thyroid cancer and cervical dysplasia in SLE have been found. Some have postulated that immunosuppressive drugs play a role, as well as other important mediators, such as lupus disease activity itself. One new frontier being explored is the significant finding of a decreased risk of certain nonhematologic cancers (e.g., breast, ovarian, endometrial and prostate) in SLE. The reasons for this are currently under study.
cancer; immunosuppressive drug; malignancy; risk; systemic lupus erythematosus
To evaluate the effects of belimumab versus placebo, plus standard systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) therapy, on organ domain-specific SLE disease activity.
Data obtained after 52 weeks of treatment from two phase III trials (BLISS-52 and BLISS-76) comparing belimumab 1 and 10 mg/kg versus placebo, plus standard therapy, in 1684 autoantibody-positive patients were analysed post hoc for changes in British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) and Safety of Estrogens in Lupus National Assessment–Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SELENA–SLEDAI) organ domain scores.
At baseline, the domains involved in the majority of patients were musculoskeletal and mucocutaneous by both BILAG and SELENA–SLEDAI, and immunological by SELENA–SLEDAI. At 52 weeks, significantly more patients treated with belimumab versus placebo had improvement in BILAG musculoskeletal and mucocutaneous domains (1 and 10 mg/kg), and in SELENA–SLEDAI mucocutaneous (10 mg/kg), musculoskeletal (1 mg/kg) and immunological (1 and 10 mg/kg) domains. Improvement was also observed in other organ systems with a low prevalence (≤16%) at baseline, including the SELENA–SLEDAI vasculitis and central nervous system domains. Significantly fewer patients treated with belimumab versus placebo had worsening in the BILAG haematological domain (1 mg/kg) and in the SELENA–SLEDAI immunological (10 mg/kg), haematological (10 mg/kg) and renal (1 mg/kg) domains.
Belimumab treatment improved overall SLE disease activity in the most common musculoskeletal and mucocutaneous organ domains. Less worsening occurred in the haematological, immunological and renal domains.
To identify factors that predict response to belimumab treatment in the phase 3 BLISS trials of autoantibody-positive systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and further analyse clinical efficacy in various patient subsets.
The BLISS trials compared belimumab 1 and 10 mg/kg versus placebo, all plus standard SLE therapy, over 52 or 76 weeks. Pooled subgroup analyses of week 52 SLE responder index rates (the primary endpoint in both trials) were performed based on demographic characteristics and baseline disease activity indicators. Pooled multivariate analysis was performed to determine predictors of response and treatment effect.
Pooled univariate and multivariate analyses (N=1684) identified baseline factors associated with an increased benefit of belimumab versus placebo. These factors included the Safety Of Estrogens In Lupus Erythematosus National Assessment–Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SELENA–SLEDAI) ≥10, low complement, anti-dsDNA positivity and corticosteroid use. Efficacy outcomes were assessed in the low complement/anti-dsDNA-positive and SELENA–SLEDAI ≥10 subgroups. Week 52 SLE Responder Index rates in the low complement/anti-dsDNA-positive subgroup were 31.7%, 41.5% (p=0.002) and 51.5% (p<0.001) with placebo and belimumab 1 mg/kg and 10 mg/kg, respectively; corresponding rates in the SELENA–SLEDAI ≥10 subgroup were 44.3%, 58.0% (p<0.001) and 63.2% (p<0.001). Further analysis of secondary endpoints in the low complement/anti-dsDNA-positive subgroup showed that compared with placebo, belimumab produced greater benefits regarding severe flares, corticosteroid use and health-related quality of life.
These findings suggest that belimumab has greater therapeutic benefit than standard therapy alone in patients with higher disease activity, anti-dsDNA positivity, low complement or corticosteroid treatment at baseline.
identifiers NCT00424476 and NCT00410384
The clinical outcome and therapeutic response to immunosuppressive agents vary among patients with lupus nephritis of different ethnic populations. Thus, we evaluated the efficacy of two established treatment protocols for lupus nephritis (low-dose versus standard-dose cyclophosphamide) in Puerto Ricans with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
A retrospective cohort of 49 adult patients with SLE treated with intravenous low or standard-dose cyclophosphamide for clinical or biopsy confirmed lupus nephritis was studied. Demographic parameters, clinical manifestations, autoantibodies and pharmacological treatments were determined prior to cyclophosphamide treatment. Renal parameters, disease activity, damage accrual and corticosteroid use were determined before and after treatment. Cyclophosphamide-associated adverse events were also examined. Univariable and bivariable analyses were used to evaluate group differences.
Thirty-nine SLE patients received the standard-dose treatment and ten patients the low-dose therapy. Prior to cyclophosphamide infusion, demographic parameters, clinical manifestations, autoantibodies profile, disease damage and pharmacologic treatments were similar in both groups. Disease activity was higher in the low-dose group. After cyclophosphamide therapy, significant improvement of renal parameters (increase in the glomerular filtration rate and decrease in hematuria, pyuria, urinary cellular casts, proteinuria and hypertension) were observed only for patients that received the standard-dose therapy. Disease activity and corticosteroids requirement decreased in both groups after treatment. No differences were observed for adverse events associated with cyclophosphamide.
The standard-dose cyclophosphamide therapy appears to be more effective, and similar in terms of drug safety, than the low-dose regime for lupus nephritis in Puerto Ricans with SLE.
systemic lupus erythematosus; lupus nephritis; cyclophosphamide; Hispanics; Puerto Ricans
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a common autoimmune disease with unclear etiology. Treatments for it often provide inadequate control of disease activity or are limited by side effects. Recent studies have shown that rapamycin can be an effective treatment in both murine lupus models and human SLE. We demonstrated that rapamycin could directly alter molecular abnormalities in SLE T cells related to calcium signaling but not mitochondrial function. However, in light of increased knowledge of the role of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling throughout the immune system, several other potential sites of rapamycin action have been revealed. Specifically, mTOR regulates the production of interferon-α and the maintenance of immune tolerance at the level of the regulatory T cell and the dendritic cell, and can promote Th2 versus Th1 immune responses. Thus mTOR offers a window into diverse facets of lupus pathogenesis as well as a unifying narrative in our understanding of the therapeutic efficacy of rapamycin in SLE.
The treatment of cutaneous lupus erythematosus is centered upon formulating a regimen of topical and systemic therapies designed to reduce disease activity and minimize cosmetic damage. Sun avoidance and sunscreen are important preventative measures proven to minimize cutaneous lupus erythematosus exacerbations. Limited disease is typically managed with topical corticosteroids or calcineurin inhibitors. Antimalarial therapy is the gold standard of systemic therapy. Many other treatments have been studied in patients with recalcitrant cutaneous lupus erythematosus, and their use must be evaluated based on individual risk-benefit concerns. R-salbutamol and pulsed dye laser therapy have proven to be effective topical alternatives. Additional systemic agents include retinoids, immunosuppressants, immunomodulators, biologics, and other experimental therapies with novel modes of action. According to the Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine criteria for evaluating the strength of evidence supporting an individual treatment measure, no therapy for cutaneous lupus erythematosus has achieved Level 1 status. This demonstrates the need for randomized, controlled trials and systematic reviews of all cutaneous lupus erythematosus interventions in order to meet increasing standards and demand for evidence-based practice.
Recent advances in the management of lupus nephritis, together with earlier renal biopsy and selective use of aggressive immunosuppressive therapy, have contributed to a favorable outcome in children and adolescents with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Nevertheless, we believe that a more effective and less toxic treatment is needed to attain an optimal control of the activity of lupus nephritis. Recent published papers and our experiences regarding treatment of young patients with lupus nephritis using calcineurin inhibitors are reviewed. Although it has been reported that intermittent monthly pulses of intravenous cyclophosphamide (IVCY) are effective for preserving renal function in adult patients, CPA is a potent immunosuppressive agent that induces severe toxicity, including myelo- and gonadal toxicity, and increases the risk of secondary malignancy. Thus, treatment for controlling lupus nephritis activity, especially in children and adolescents, remains challenging. Cyclosporine A (CsA) and tacrolimus (Tac) are T-cell-specific calcineurin inhibitors that prevent the activation of helper T cells, thereby inhibiting the transcription of the early activation genes of interleukin (IL)-2 and suppressing T cell-induced activation of tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-1β and IL-6. Therefore, both drugs, which we believe may be less cytotoxic, are attractive therapeutic options for young patients with lupus nephritis. Recently, a multidrug regimen of prednisolone (PDN), Tac, and mycophenolate mofetile (MMF) has been found effective and relatively safe in adult lupus nephritis. Since the mechanisms of action of MMF and Tac are probably complementary, multidrug therapy for lupus nephritis may be useful. We propose as an alternative to IVCY, a multidrug therapy with mizoribine, which acts very similarly to MMF, and Tac, which has a different mode of action, combined with PDN for pediatric-onset lupus nephritis. We also believe that a multidrug therapy including CsA and Tac may be an attractive option for young patients with SLE and lupus nephritis
Calcineurin inhibitor; Cyclosporine A; Lupus nephritis; Multidrug therapy; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Tacrolimus
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a weak androgen that exerts pleomorphic effects on the immune system. The hormone has no known receptor, and consequently, the mechanism of action of DHEA on immunocompetent cells remains poorly understood. Interestingly, serum levels of DHEA are decreased in patients with inflammatory disease including lupus, and these levels seem to inversely correlate with disease activity. Following encouraging studies demonstrating beneficial effects of DHEA supplementation in murine lupus models, a number of clinical studies have tested the effect of DHEA administration in lupus patients. DHEA treatment could improve patient’s overall quality of life assessment measures and glucocorticoid requirements in some lupus patients with mild to moderate disease, however, the effect of DHEA on disease activity in lupus patients remains controversial. Long term safety assessment studies are required in light of the reported effect of DHEA supplementation in lowering HDL cholesterol in lupus patients.
The treatment of many dermatological disorders, such as autoimmune and immune-mediated diseases, consists of the use of systemic corticosteroids alone or in combination with other steroid-sparing immunosuppressants. Often, these treatment regimens are sufficient to control disease activity with relatively few side effects if monitored by a diligent physician. Some patients, however, may be refractory to treatment or develop intolerable side effects from therapy. For these patients, alternative treatment modalities with less toxicity and greater efficacy are required. Rituximab is a genetically engineered, chimeric monoclonal antibody directed against the B-cell lineage specific CD20 antigen. Originally developed for the treatment of B-cell non-Hodgkin“s lymphoma, rituximab has increasingly been used to treat a variety of autoimmune and immune-mediated disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, pemphigus diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura to name a few. Since very few randomized, controlled, clinical trials exist regarding the use of rituximab in the treatment of dermatological disorders, guidelines for the off-label use of this medication come from anecdotal case reports and cohort studies. Further clinical studies are needed to validate the safety and efficacy of rituximab therapy in dermatological disorders. Until then, we present a literature review of the emerging use of this B-cell depletion therapy. (J Clin Aesthetic Dermatol. 2009;2(5):29–37.)
CD20 is a B cell surface marker that is expressed in various stages in B
lymphocytes and certain lymphomas. Clinical administration of CD20 antibody,
such as rituximab, is used widely to treat human B-cell lymphomas and other
diseases. However, CD20 antibody failed to treat systemic lupus erythematosus
(SLE or lupus). The reason for the failure is currently unknown. Type I
interferons (IFN) are a major component for the host innate immunity, and a key
pathogenic factor in lupus. We found that CD20 antibody potentiated human B
cells for its production of IFNs in vitro. This function was
specific to CD20-expressing cells and the potentiation function seems to be
instant. In addition, ectopic expression of CD20 in non-B-lymphocytes increased
the IFN promoter reporter activities. Because IFNs are a key pathogenic factor
in lupus, our data suggest that, in the presence of virus infection, the
CD20-antibody-mediated enhancement of IFN production might be related to its
failure in lupus treatments. This work may provide new insights for CD20-Ab
What have we learnt about cancer risk in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) over the past decade? One important lesson is that data do confirm a slight increased risk in SLE for all cancers combined, compared to the general population. However, it is clear that this is largely driven by an increased risk for hematological malignancies, particularly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), although Hodgkin’s lymphoma may be increased as well. In addition, there is evidence for a moderately increased risk of lung cancer, and possibly for rarer cancer types, such as hepatobiliary and vulvar/vaginal malignancies.
Unfortunately, the most clinically relevant question, the mechanism underlying the association between cancer and SLE, remains largely unanswered. Key issues remaining under study relate to the links between cancer risk, SLE disease activity, and medication exposures. Much of the recent data suggest that disease-related factors may be at least as important as medication exposures for certain cancers, such as NHL. The independent effects of drug exposures versus disease activity in mediating cancer risk in SLE remain unknown. Work is in progress to further elucidate these important issues.
Meanwhile, there is good evidence that cervical dysplasia is increased in women with SLE. This may be mediated by decreased clearance of the human papilloma virus, which some suggest is an innate characteristic of SLE patients. However, an increased risk of cervical dysplasia is also associated with immunosuppressive medication exposures, particularly cyclophosphamide. For these reasons, it is important that women with SLE follow established guidelines for cervical cancer screening.
Malignancy; cancer; systemic lupus erythematosus; SLE; lymphoma; NHL
Kidney disease is one of the most serious manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Despite the improvement in the medical care of SLE in the past two decades, the prognosis of lupus nephritis remains unsatisfactory. Besides exploring more effective but less toxic treatment modalities that will further improve the remission rate, early detection and treatment of renal activity may spare patients from intensive immunosuppressive therapies and reduce renal damage. Conventional clinical parameters such as creatinine clearance, proteinuria, urine sediments, anti-dsDNA, and complement levels are not sensitive or specific enough for detecting ongoing disease activity in the lupus kidneys and early relapse of nephritis. Thus, novel biomarkers are necessary to enhance the diagnostic accuracy and sensitivity of lupus renal disease, prognostic stratification, monitoring of treatment response, and detection of early renal flares. This paper reviews promising biomarkers that have recently been evaluated in longitudinal studies of lupus nephritis.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease for which current therapy is suboptimal. SLE is characterized by autoantibody production, with renal disease and premature atherosclerosis being common and severe manifestations causing appreciable morbidity and mortality. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) agonists are widely used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus for their insulin-sensitizing properties, but also have immunomodulatory effects. In this report, we show that the PPARγ agonist rosiglitazone reduces autoantibody production, renal disease, and atherosclerosis in mouse models of SLE. The beneficial effect of rosiglitazone on SLE manifestations depends on the induction of adiponectin, because rosiglitazone has no effect on autoantibody production or renal disease in lupus mice that lack adiponectin. In addition, lupus mice that lack adiponectin develop more severe disease than adiponectin-sufficient lupus mice, indicating that endogenous adiponectin is involved in regulating disease activity. Furthermore, administration of exogenous adiponectin ameliorates disease. These experiments suggest that PPARγ agonists may be useful agents for the treatment of SLE. They also demonstrate that induction of adiponectin is a major mechanism underlying the immunomodulatory effects of PPARγ agonists.
We report a 52-year-old patient who developed B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma subsequent to sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis was diagnosed 16 years ago and remained asymptomatic for 14 years after steroid treatment. She presented with new symptoms of arthralgia, photosensitivity, butterfly erythema, autoimmune antibodies (ANA, chromatin positivity) associated with progression of the known left upper lobe lesion on the chest X-ray suggesting primary autoimmune disease (systemic lupus erythematosus). As steroid treatment was not effective, we started bolus cyclophosphamide therapy after which progression was seen on the chest X-ray. Computed tomography (CT)-guided needle biopsy confirmed malignancy of indefinable origin. Despite of the well-known fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) avidity in active sarcoidosis, a FDG-positron emission tomography (PET) scan was performed to stage the primary tumour. Intensive FDG uptake was detected in the affected lung segment, with moderate uptake in mediastinal lymph nodes. The patient underwent left upper lobectomy. The histology showed pulmonary mucosa-associated lymphoma (bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) lymphoma) in the lung tissue, while only sarcoidosis was present in the mediastinal lymph nodes. Bone marrow biopsy was negative.
The association between sarcoidosis and lymphoma is known as sarcoidosis lymphoma syndrome, which is a rare disease. PET-CT was helpful in the differentiation of sarcoidosis and malignancy in this patient. It is important to be aware of the risk of lymphoma in sarcoidosis and FDG-PET, used for adequate purpose, can help the diagnosis.
Sarcoidosis; Malignancy; Sarcoidosis lymphoma syndrome; PET-CT
Cardiovascular risk is increased in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Drugs used to treat SLE can modify traditional cardiovascular risk factors. We examined the effect of selected drugs used in the treatment of SLE on cardiovascular risk factors.
We compared systolic and diastolic blood pressure, serum lipid concentrations, glucose, homocysteine, and urinary F2-isoprostane concentrations in 99 patients with lupus who were either current users or non-users of systemic corticosteroids, antimalarials, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), COX-2 selective NSAIDs, azathioprine, and methotrexate. Multivariable adjustment was done with linear regression modeling using sex, age and disease activity (SLEDAI) as controlling variables.
Serum triglyceride concentrations were higher (135.1 ± 61.4 vs. 95.3 ± 47.5 mg/dL, adjusted P = 0.003) in patients receiving corticosteroids. Homocysteine concentrations were marginally higher in patients receiving methotrexate (adjusted P = 0.08). Current use of either NSAIDs or COX-2 inhibitors was not associated with increased cardiovascular risk factors. Current hydroxychloroquine use was not associated with significant alterations in lipid profiles.
In a non-random sample of patients with SLE, current corticosteroid use was associated with increased triglyceride concentrations, but other drugs had little effect on traditional cardiovascular risk factors.
Prednisone; Hydroxychloroquine; NSAID; COX-2 Inhibitor; Azathioprine, Methotrexate
The lupus anticoagulant was found in the plasma of 31 of 60 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and other connective tissue disorders (mixed connective tissue disease, systemic vasculitis, polyarteritis nodosa, primary sicca syndrome, discoid lupus, Behcet's syndrome, and systemic sclerosis). Strong associations were found with biological false positive seroreaction for syphilis and thrombocytopenia. The most striking association, however, was with the high prevalence of thrombosis. This tendency to thrombosis was independent of disease activity of systemic lupus erythematosus. The lupus anticoagulant appears to be a useful marker for a subset of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus at risk for the development of thromboembolic complications.
Monthly intravenous cyclophosphamide for six months has been the standard induction regimen for lupus nephritis, followed by a maintenance regimen of quarterly infusions for two years.
A prospective randomized trial of traditional IV cyclophosphamide (MIC, monthly IV cyclophosphamide 750 mg/m2 body mass index for 6 months followed by quarterly IV cyclophosphamide) versus high-dose (HDIC, 50 mg/kg daily for 4 days) was performed. Entry criteria included renal lupus, neurologic lupus, or other organ systems with moderate-to-severe activity.
51 patients were randomized: 3 withdrew before treatment and one committed suicide two months after treatment with HDIC. Twenty-two had renal lupus, 14 had neurologic lupus and 11 “other” organ involvement. The outcome measure was the Responder Index for Lupus Erythematosus (complete response, partial response, no change or worsening). At six months (end of induction) 11/21 (52%) in the HDIC group had a complete response compared to 9/26 (35%) in the MIC group (p=.13). At the final visit (30 months), 10/21 (48%) in the HDIC group had a complete response, compared to 13/20 (65%) who continued on MIC (p=.13). Six patients crossed over from MIC to HDIC because of lack of response, of whom three became complete responders.
There was not strong evidence that monthly IV cyclophosphamide and high-dose cyclophosphamide differed in complete or in any (complete or partial) response for induction or maintenance therapy. However, nonresponders to monthly IV cyclophosphamide can sometimes be rescued by high-dose cyclophosphamide.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease, develops at a female-to-male ratio of 10:1. Increased serum levels of type I interferons (IFN-α/β) and induction of “IFN-signature” genes are associated with an active SLE disease in patients. Moreover, SLE patients exhibit three- to four-fold increase in the risk of developing malignancies involving B cells, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL). Interestingly, homozygous mice expressing a deletion mutant (the proline-rich domain deleted) of the p53 develop various types of spontaneous tumors, particularly of B-cell origin upon aging. The deletion is associated with defects in transcriptional activation of genes by p53 and inhibition of DNA damage-induced apoptosis. Notably, increased levels of the p202 protein, which is encoded by the p53-repressible interferon-inducible Ifi202 gene, in B cells of female mice are associated with defects in B cell apoptosis, inhibition of the p53-mediated transcription of pro-apoptotic genes, and increased lupus susceptibility. In this review we discuss how increased levels of the p202 protein (and its human functional homologue IFI16 protein) in B cells increase lupus susceptibility and are likely to increase the risk of developing certain B cell malignancies. A complete understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate B cell homeostasis is necessary to identify SLE patients with an increased risk to develop B cell malignancies.
SLE; interferons; sex bias; B cell malignancies; p53; apoptosis; p200-family
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by an abundance of autoantibodies against nuclear antigens. Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk) is a proximal transducer of the BCR signal that allows for B-cell activation and differentiation. Recently, selective inhibition of Btk by PCI-32765 has shown promise in limiting activity of multiple cells types in various models of cancer and autoimmunity. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of Btk inhibition by PCI-32765 on the development of lupus in lupus-prone B6.Sle1 and B6.Sle1.Sle3 mice.
B6.Sle1 or B6.Sle1.Sle3 mice received drinking water containing either the Btk inhibitor PCI-32765 or vehicle for 56 days. Following treatment, mice were examined for clinical and pathological characteristics of lupus. The effect of PCI-32765 on specific cell types was also investigated.
In this study, we report that Btk inhibition dampens humoral autoimmunity in B6.Sle1 monocongenic mice. Moreover, in B6.Sle1.Sle3 bicongenic mice that are prone to severe lupus, Btk inhibition also dampens humoral and cellular autoimmunity, as well as lupus nephritis.
These findings suggest that partial crippling of cell signaling in B cells and antigen presenting cells (APCs) may be a viable alternative to total depletion of these cells as a therapeutic modality for lupus.
To determine the serum levels of interferon alpha in childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus patients, their first-degree relatives and healthy controls and to evaluate the associations between serum interferon alpha and disease activity, laboratory findings and treatment features.
We screened consecutive childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus patients in a longitudinal cohort at the pediatric rheumatology unit of the State University of Campinas between 2009 and 2010. All patients demonstrated disease onset before the age of 16. Disease status was assessed according to the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) and Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index (SDI). Interferon alpha levels were measured using an enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay.
We included 57 childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus patients (mean age 17.33±4.50), 64 first-degree relatives (mean age 39.95±5.66), and 57 healthy (mean age 19.30±4.97) controls. Serum interferon alpha levels were significantly increased in childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus patients compared to their first-degree relatives and healthy controls. Interferon alpha levels were significantly increased in patients with positive dsDNA antibodies, patients with cutaneous vasculitis, patients with new malar rash and patients who were not receiving medication. Interferon alpha levels correlated with C3 levels and systemic lupus erythematosus Disease Activity Index scores. In addition, we observed an inverse correlation between patient age and interferon alpha levels.
Interferon alpha may play a role in the pathogenesis of childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus, especially in cutaneous manifestations and dsDNA antibody formation. The observation that interferon alpha levels are increased in patients who are not taking medication should be investigated in longitudinal studies to determine whether elevated interferon alpha levels may predict systemic lupus erythematosus flares.
Interferon alpha (IFN-α); SLEDAI; Childhood-onset; Systemic lupus erythematosus
Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus may develop premature atherosclerosis, notably coronary artery disease. A group of 10 patients with peripheral vascular disease presenting with intermittent claudication or gangrene were studied from a group of 563 patients followed prospectively at the Wellesley Hospital Lupus Clinic. These 10 patients were compared with the next lupus clinic patient matched for age and sex, with respect to demographic characteristics and risk factors. The patients and controls did not differ significantly in lupus activity criteria count, partial thromboplastin time, the number with antibody to cardiolipin, number receiving steroids or mean steroid dose, family history of atherosclerosis, hyperlipidaemia, smoking, hypertension or use of oral contraceptives. The risk factors for developing peripheral vascular disease were a longer duration of systemic lupus erythematosus and a longer duration of use of steroids. Eight of the 10 patients had coexistent coronary artery disease or transient ischaemic attack.
Aplastic anaemia is rare as a primary feature of systemic lupus erythematosus and is more commonly a complication of treatment with cytotoxic drugs. Three years after starting treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus a 22-year-old woman developed bone-marrow depression. Azathioprine was thought to be responsible and was withdrawn. The aplastic anaemia worsened despite treatment with prednisolone. In view of clinical and serological evidence of lupus disease activity the patient was given high-dose intravenous cyclophosphamide and the aplastic anaemia responded in a sustained manner.
In such cases of continued disease activity high-dose immunosuppressive agents may prove effective.
AIMS—To correlate histological features of ocular adnexal lymphoma using the revised European American lymphoma classification (REAL), with stage of disease at presentation, treatment modalities, and patient outcome. MALT lymphoma defines an extranodal marginal zone B cell lymphoma as outlined in the REAL classification. Comparison groups of patients included those with primary ocular adnexal MALT lymphoma versus primary ocular adnexal lymphomas of other types, MALT lymphoma versus non-MALT lymphomas (primary and secondary), and primary ocular adnexal lymphoma (MALT lymphomas and other types) versus secondary ocular adnexal lymphomas.
METHODS—A retrospective review of the National Ophthalmic Pathology Laboratory records identified 20 cases of ocular adnexal lymphoma over a 10 year period which were reclassified using appropriate immunohistochemical stains. Patients' medical records were examined for data including stage of the disease at presentation, mode of treatment, and patient outcome.
RESULTS—Among the 20 cases identified 14 had primary ocular adnexal lymphomas. 10 of the primary lymphomas had histological features of MALT lymphoma. One case was a primary ocular adnexal T cell lymphoma, one a follicular centre, follicular B cell lymphoma, and two were large cell B cell lymphomas. Six cases had systemic disease, four large B cell, one follicular centre, follicular B cell, and one mantle cell. A significantly higher proportion of patients with MALT lymphomas had early disease (p = 0.005), initially required local treatment (p = 0.005) and were alive at last follow up (p = 0.001) than those without. Two patients with MALT lymphoma had recurrence of lymphoma which responded to further treatment.
CONCLUSIONS—Patients with primary ocular adnexal MALT lymphomas present with localised disease requiring local treatment and have a better outcome compared with patients with other types. As a small percentage of these tumours recur, patients should be followed up indefinitely.
Background: Infections are one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
Objective: To analyse urinary tract infection (UTI) risk factors in lupus patients; the influence of these factors on disease activity, organ damage, and disease development; the type and prevalence of UTI; and the micro-organisms involved.
Method: 86 control subjects and 81 lupus patients were studied prospectively over a 12 month period and examined on five occasions. Epidemiological data and information on urinary symptoms, disease activity (SLEDAI), and organ damage (SLICC/ACR) data were collected. Autoantibodies, complement levels, urine culture, and antibiogram were determined; urological studies were also carried out. SPPS 10.0 and STATA 6.0. were used for statistical analysis.
Results: The prevalence of UTI in lupus patients was 36%. Lupus influences the onset of UTI (p = 0.001), regardless of other variables. UTI risk factors in lupus patients were age (p = 0.002), previous cases of UTI (p = 0.0001), antinuclear antibodies (ANA) >1/80 IU/ml (p = 0.022), thrombocytopenia (p = 0.02), and admission to hospital due to UTI (p = 0.002). Leucopenia (p = 0.09) and the weekly administration of methotrexate (p = 0.06) had a bearing on the onset of UTI; disease development (p = 0.99), lupus activity (p = 0.32), and organ damage (p = 0.36) do not. The uropathogen most frequently isolated was E coli (60%).
Conclusions: Lupus patients are likely to have UTI, usually manifesting in the lower tract. They are community acquired, basically caused by E coli, and favoured by age, previous UTI, admissions to hospital due to UTI, thrombopenia, ANA, leucopenia, and methotrexate treatments.
Lupus nephritis is a complication of systemic lupus erythematosus, which has significant morbidity and mortality. The accepted standard of treatment for severe lupus nephritis is cyclophosphamide for induction of remission. This has significant adverse effects including severe infection and amenorrhea. In addition, although cyclophosphamide induces remission, long-term mortality does not seem to be altered. Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) is an immunosuppressive agent originally used in solid organ transplantation, which has been compared with cyclophosphamide in trials for lupus nephritis. Randomized trials with MMF have been relatively small, although pooled data seem to suggest that it is at least as effective as cyclophosphamide in inducing remission. In addition, MMF has also been associated with a reduced risk of infection and amenorrhea, although this finding is not universal. MMF appears to be associated with more diarrhea compared with cyclophosphamide. MMF is likely to be a useful treatment for lupus nephritis, although available trial data are limited due to the small size of previous studies. A large trial (the Aspreva Lupus Management Study) is currently underway to attempt to establish the place of MMF in treatment of lupus nephritis.
mycophenolate mofetil; lupus nephritis; systemic lupus erythematosus