Necrotising fasciitis (NF) is a rare infection of the subcutaneous tissue, known to be rapidly progressive and potentially fatal. Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) may be predisposed to this condition, and early clinical recognition can be difficult. We report a case of necrotising fasciitis in a 26-year-old woman with SLE. She presented with painful swelling of her left leg, then developed clinical features of septic shock. Emergency debridement was performed. Intraoperative findings revealed NF and cultures grew Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The patient survived after a lengthy hospital admission, following several further debridements complicated by recurrent chest sepsis and multiorgan failure. We also review and discuss the published cases of NF in SLE patients.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Necrotizing fasciitis; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Biologics; Immunosuppressive therapy
Evidence points to a decreased breast cancer risk in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We analyzed data from a large multisite SLE cohort, linked to cancer registries.
Information on age, SLE duration, cancer date, and histology was available. We analyzed information on histological type and performed multivariate logistic regression analyses of histological types according to age, SLE duration, and calendar year.
We studied 180 breast cancers in the SLE cohort. Of the 155 cases with histology information, 11 were referred to simply as ‘carcinoma not otherwise specified’. In the remaining 144 breast cancers, the most common histological type was ductal carcinoma (n = 95; 66%) followed by lobular adenocarcinoma (n = 11; 8%), 15 cancers were of mixed histology, and the remaining ones were special types. In our regression analyses, the independent risk factors for lobular versus ductal carcinoma was age [odds ratio (OR) 1.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01–1.14] and for the ‘special’ subtypes it was age (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.01–1.10) and SLE duration (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.00–1.11).
Generally, up to 80% of breast cancers are ductal carcinomas. Though our results are not definitive, in the breast cancers that occur in SLE, there may be a slight decrease in the ductal histological type. In our analyses, age and SLE duration were independent predictors of histological status.
Breast cancer; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Histopathology; Epidemiology
To examine change in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in association with clinical outcomes of neuropsychiatric (NP) events in SLE.
An international study evaluated newly diagnosed SLE patients for NP events attributed to SLE and non-SLE causes. Outcome of events was determined by physician-completed 7-point scale and compared to patient-completed SF-36 questionnaires. Statistical analysis used linear mixed-effects regression models with patient specific random effects.
274 patients (92% female; 68% Caucasian), from a cohort of 1400, had ≥ 1 NP event where the interval between assessments was 12.3 ± 2 months. The overall difference in change between visits in mental component summary (MCS) scores of the SF-36 was significant (p<0.0001) following adjustments for gender, ethnicity, center and previous score. A consistent improvement in NP status (N=295) was associated with an increase in the mean(SD) adjusted MCS score of 3.66(0.89) in SF-36 scores. Between paired visits where NP status consistently deteriorated (N=30), the adjusted MCS score decreased by 4.00(1.96). For the physical component summary (PCS) scores the corresponding changes were +1.73(0.71) and −0.62(1.58) (p<0.05) respectively. Changes in SF-36 subscales were in the same direction (p<0.05; with the exception of role physical). Sensitivity analyses confirmed these findings. Adjustment for age, education, medications, SLE disease activity, organ damage, disease duration, attribution and characteristics of NP events did not substantially alter the results.
Changes in SF-36 summary and subscale scores, in particular those related to mental health, are strongly associated with the clinical outcome of NP events in SLE patients.
Systemic lupus erythematosus; Neuropsychiatric; Inception cohort; Health related quality of life; SF-36
Oxidative stress contributes to atherosclerosis, and evidence of enhanced oxidative stress exists in antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). In a non-lupus murine model, we evaluated whether anticardiolipin (aCL) antibodies could affect the oxidant/antioxidant balance as an early biochemical step of APS.
Hybridomas producing human and murine aCL and anti-β2-glycoprotein I (aβ2-GPI) monoclonal antibodies were injected into three groups of five female BALB/c severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice. Corresponding hybridomas secreting non-antiphospholipid antibodies of the same isotype were employed as controls. Sera and organs were collected after 30 days. Paraoxonase (PON) activity, peroxynitrite, superoxide, nitric oxide (NO) and nitrotyrosine were measured in plasma. Expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) was assessed by western blot and immunohistochemistry.
PON activity and NO (sum of nitrate and nitrite) levels were reduced in the human aCL IgG group (P<0.002 and P<0.04, respectively), whilst peroxynitrite and superoxide and expression of total antioxidant capacity of plasma were increased (P<0.01). PON and NO were decreased in the murine aβ2-GPI IgG and IgM aCL groups (P<0.03 and P<0.05, respectively). Nitrotyrosine was elevated in the human aCL IgG group (P<0.03). Western blotting showed reduced iNOS expression in the hearts of the IgG aCL group, confirmed by immunostaining. PON inversely correlated with IgG aCL titres (P<0.001), superoxide (P<0.008) and peroxynitrite levels (P<0.0009). Peroxynitrite and total IgG aCL were independent predictors of PON (P<0.0009 and P<0.02, respectively). Superoxide was the only independent predictor of NO (P<0.008) and of nitrotyrosine (P<0.002).
aCL antibodies are associated with the decreased PON activity and reduced NO that may occur in the preclinical phase of APS.
PMID: 15987712 CAMSID: cams2349
Antiphospholipid antibodies; Oxidative stress; Nitric oxide; Total antioxidant capacity; Paraoxonase
To describe vascular events during an 8 year follow-up in a multicentre SLE inception cohort and their attribution to atherosclerosis.
Clinical data including co-morbidities are recorded yearly. Vascular events are recorded and attributed to atherosclerosis or not. All events met standard clinical criteria. Factors associated with atherosclerotic vascular events were analysed using descriptive statistics, t-tests and χ2. Stepwise multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the association of factors with vascular events attributed to atherosclerosis.
Since 2000, 1249 patients have been entered into the cohort. There have been 97 vascular events in 72 patients. These include: myocardial infarction (13), angina (15), congestive heart failure (24), peripheral vascular disease (8), transient ischemic attack (13), stroke (23), pacemaker insertion (1). Fifty of the events were attributed to active lupus, 31events in 22 patients were attributed to atherosclerosis, and 16 to other causes. Time from diagnosis to first atherosclerotic event was 2.0 ± 1.5 years. Compared to patients followed for 2 years without atherosclerosis events (615), at enrolment patients with AVE were more frequently Caucasian, male, older at diagnosis of SLE, obese, smokers, hypertensive and had a family history of coronary artery disease. On multivariate analysis only male gender and older age at diagnosis were associated factors.
In an inception cohort with SLE followed for up to 8 years there were 97 vascular events but only 31 were attributable to atherosclerosis. Patients with atherosclerotic events were more likely to be male and to be older at diagnosis of SLE.
To determine the frequency, accrual, attribution and outcome of neuropsychiatric (NP) events and impact on quality of life over 3 years in a large inception cohort of SLE patients.
The study was conducted by the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics. Patients were enrolled within 15 months of SLE diagnosis. NP events were identified using the ACR case definitions and decision rules were derived to determine the proportion of NP disease attributable to SLE. The outcome of NP events was recorded and patient perceived impact determined by the SF-36.
There were 1206 patients (89.6% female) with a mean (±SD) age of 34.5±13.2 years. The mean disease duration at enrollment was 5.4±4.2 months. Over a mean follow-up of 1.9±1.2 years 486/1206 (40.3%) patients had ≥1 NP events which were attributed to SLE in 13.0%–23.6% of patients using two a priori decision rules. The frequency of individual NP events varied from 47.1% (headache) to 0% (myasthenia gravis). The outcome was significantly better for those NP events attributed to SLE especially if they occurred within 1.5 years of the diagnosis of SLE. Patients with NP events, regardless of attribution, had significantly lower summary scores for both mental and physical health over the study.
NP events in SLE patients are variable in frequency, most commonly present early in the disease course and adversely impact patients’ quality of life over time. Events attributed to non-SLE causes are more common than those due to SLE, although the latter have a more favourable outcome.
Lupus; Neuropsychiatric; Prospective; Inception cohort
To determine the prevalence of other autoimmune diseases (AID) in black, Caucasian and South Asian patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) compared with the prevalence of these AID in the UK population, and to assess the impact of these additional AID on damage scores and mortality.
The prevalence and chronology of development of additional AID in SLE patients was determined by case note review. Comparisons were made with prevalence data for AID in the general UK population. The impact of additional AID on mortality and damage scores at up to 10 years was determined in the index cases (patients who developed another AID either in the same year or within 5 years of onset of SLE) compared with controls matched for sex, age, ethnicity and year of onset of SLE.
There was no significant difference in the total number of AID that developed in patients from each ethnic group but differences in the frequency of some AID were noted. Mortality and damage scores were worse at 5 years in the study cases than the controls, particularly in the peripheral vascular category.
Patients with SLE might develop other AID that could complicate management of SLE by having an adverse impact on damage scores and mortality.
Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies, notably polymyositis and dermatomyositis are comparatively uncommon diseases and few randomised, double blind placebo controlled trials have been done. Final validation of measures to assess outcome and response to treatment is awaited. Corticosteroids are an effective initial treatment, although rarely tested in randomised controlled trials. Unfortunately, not all patients respond to them and many develop undesirable side effects. There is thus a need for second line agents notably immunosuppressives or intravenous immunoglobulin. There are no defined guidelines or best treatment protocols agreed internationally and so the medical approach must be individualised, based on the severity of clinical presentation, disease duration, presence of extramuscular features, and prior therapy and contraindications to particular agents. There is still a significant percentage of non‐responders (around 25%) and clinical relapses. Novel therapeutic approaches are now directed towards cytokine modulation and the use of monoclonal antibodies targeting B and T cells.
To report the clinical outcome and safety profile of repeated B cell depletion in seven patients with refractory systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Since June 2000, seven patients with refractory SLE had repeated cycles of B cell depletion (18 cycles in total, up to three cycles per patient) because of disease relapse. The clinical response (assessed by the British Isles Lupus Activity Guide (BILAG) activity index), duration of B cell depletion, and adverse events in these patients was reviewed.
Four patients (Nos 1, 2, 3, 6) had three cycles of treatment and three (Nos 4, 5, 7) had two cycles. Four of the seven patients (Nos 1, 3, 5, 6) improved. The mean global BILAG scores dropped from 15 to 6 at 5–7 months. The median duration of clinical response and B cell depletion was 13 months and 6 months, respectively. After the third cycle, 2/4 patients (Nos 1 and 2) improved. The median duration of clinical benefit was 12 months. Most patients tolerate re‐treatment very well.
Re‐treatment with B cell depletion of patients with severe SLE is safe and may be effective for 6–12 months on average.
systemic lupus erythematosus; rituximab; re‐treatment; B cell depletion
Methods: A retrospective case note review was carried out on 114 patients in whom a diagnosis of pSS had been made in a department of rheumatology from 1979 onwards. The year of diagnosis of pSS was recorded, plus the diagnosis and year of diagnosis of any other identified autoimmune disease.
Results: Of the 114 patients with pSS, seven (6%) were male and 107 (94%) female. Mean age at diagnosis of pSS was 53 years (range 21 to 83). Patients were followed up for an average of 10.5 years (range 0 to 23). Thirty eight patients (33.3%) were diagnosed as having another autoimmune disease, while nine (7.9%) had two or more. Thirteen additional autoimmune diseases were identified. Twenty five diagnoses (51.0%) were made before the diagnosis of pSS, three (6.1%) within the same year, and 21 (42.9%) after the diagnosis. Hypothyroidism was the most common autoimmune disease (n = 16).
Conclusions: Although pSS is a relatively benign condition, affected individuals have an increased tendency to develop additional autoimmune diseases. Patients with pSS should be monitored on a regular basis for such diseases.
Objectives: Raised levels of the cytokines interleukin (IL) 6 and IL10 have been reported in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Objective: To determine if levels of IL6 and IL10 correlate with organ/system-specific disease activity in SLE, using the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) Disease Activity Index.
Methods: Levels of IL6 and IL10 in serum samples from 171 patients with SLE and 50 normal controls were determined by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Levels of cytokines in individual patients with SLE were compared with the presence or absence of active disease in eight organ/systems using the BILAG index.
Results: Levels of IL6 were significantly higher (p = 0.005) in patients with active compared with inactive haematological disease, as scored by the BILAG index. Further analysis showed that this association was dependent on an inverse correlation (p = 0.002, r = –0.26) between IL6 levels and haemoglobin levels in patients with SLE. In contrast, IL10 levels did not correlate with individual organ/system disease activity.
Conclusions: Raised levels of IL6 in SLE may influence the development of anaemia in this disease. These findings are in agreement with an increasing number of studies, which support physiological links between IL6 and anaemia. Importantly, with the exception of the haematological system, our studies do not provide evidence of any individual organ/system which would respond to therapeutic manipulation of either IL6 or IL10 levels.
Methods: A consecutive cohort of 289 patients with SLE was included; 235 fulfilled ACR criteria for SLE and were further analysed. ANA profiles were determined by line immunoassay and by indirect immunofluorescence on Crithidia luciliae. An extensive list of signs/symptoms was evaluated.
Results: Five clusters of antibodies were defined by cluster analysis: 1—antibodies to SmB, SmD, RNP-A, RNP-C, and RNP-70k; 2—antibodies to Ro52, Ro60, and SSB; 3, 4, and 5—antibodies to ribosomal P, histones and dsDNA, respectively. Significant associations (p⩽0.01) were found between anti-RNP-70k, anti-RNP-A, anti-RNP-C and Raynaud's phenomenon, between anti-RNP-A, anti-RNP-70k and leucopenia, and between anti-RNP-A, anti-RNP-C and a lower prevalence of urine cellular casts. Anti-SSA, anti-SSB were associated with xerostomia, and anti-SSB with pericarditis. Antibodies to ribosomal P were associated with haemolytic anaemia, leucopenia, and alopecia. Patients with anti-dsDNA antibodies had a higher risk for cellular casts and a lower risk for photosensitivity. Antihistone antibodies were associated with arthritis.
Conclusions: In a large and consecutive cohort of patients with SLE, clusters of antibodies were identified. Previously reported associations of antibodies with symptoms were confirmed and new associations found.
Objective: To compare the efficacy and side effects of intermittent pulse cyclophosphamide plus methylprednisolone with continuous oral cyclophosphamide plus prednisolone, followed by azathioprine, in patients with proliferative glomerulonephritis caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods: A multicentre randomised controlled trial was conducted between June 1992 and May 1996 involving eight European centres. All patients satisfied the American College of Rheumatology criteria for SLE and had biopsy proven proliferative lupus nephritis. All received corticosteroids in addition to cytotoxic drugs, as defined in the protocol, for two years. The trial was terminated after four years as recruitment was disappointing.
Results: 32 SLE patients with lupus nephritis were recruited: 16 were randomised to intermittent pulse cyclophosphamide and 16 to continuous cyclophosphamide plus azathioprine. Mean duration of follow up was 3.7 years in the continuous group (range 0 to 5.6) and 3.3 years in the pulse group (range 0.25 to 6). Three patients were excluded from the pulse therapy group as they were later found to have pure mesangial glomerulonephritis. Two patients in the continuous therapy group developed end stage renal failure requiring dialysis, but none in the intermittent pulse therapy (p = 0.488; NS). There were similar numbers of side effects and withdrawals from treatment in both groups. There were three deaths: two in the intermittent pulse therapy group and one in the continuous therapy group.
Conclusions: There was no statistically significant difference in efficacy and side effects between the two regimens. Infectious complications occurred commonly, so careful monitoring is required during treatment.
Objective: To obtain a better understanding of the reasons for suicidal behaviour in patients with SLE.
Methods: The records of 300 patients with SLE were reviewed to identify completed or attempted suicides.
Results: Five patients made seven attempts at suicide over a 20 year follow up period; one of them was fatal. All of those attempting suicide had a history of neuropsychiatric SLE (NPSLE) presenting with depression and they made the attempts soon after the onset of NPSLE (median time 12.5 months). Two patients had appreciable disease activity at the time of the suicide attempt. Lymphopenia was present in five suicide attempts. Anti-SSA/Ro antibodies were detected in three patients, none of whom had anti-SSB/La. All patients apart from one responded to treatment for depression; the remaining female patient made two subsequent suicide attempts, with a fatal outcome despite intensive treatment.
Conclusion: Greater awareness of the risk of suicide in patients with psychiatric manifestations of SLE may help to reduce the incidence of this potentially fatal phenomenon.
Objective: To examine the mortality rate and causes of death in a cohort of 300 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on all patients attending the SLE clinic between 1978 and 2000. Information was obtained on those patients lost to follow up. Cause of death was analysed and categorised as early (<5 years after diagnosis of SLE) and late (>5 years after diagnosis of SLE). Standardised mortality rates were obtained.
Results: The patients were followed up for a median of 8.3 years. Seventy three (24%) patients were no longer followed up at the end of the study period, of whom 41 (14%) had died. Of the 32 patients lost to follow up, 14 were being actively followed up within the UK, 16 were followed up outside the UK, and two patients were untraceable. The most common cause of death was malignancy, which accounted for eight (20%) deaths, followed by infection and vascular disease, which accounted for seven (17%) deaths each.
Conclusions: Malignancy was the most common cause of death. Cause of death varied depending on disease duration. Forty per cent of early deaths were due to SLE related renal disease, whereas 23% of late deaths were due to vascular causes. Death due to infection occurred throughout the follow up period. There was a fourfold increased risk of death in our cohort of patients with SLE compared with the general population.