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1.  Mood Disorders in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Objective
To determine the frequency, clinical and autoantibody associations and outcome of mood disorders in a multi-ethnic/racial, prospective, inception cohort of SLE patients.
Methods
Patients were assessed annually for mood disorders (4 types as per DSM-IV) and 18 other neuropsychiatric (NP) events. Global disease activity (SLEDAI-2K), SLICC/ACR damage index (SDI) and SF-36 subscale, mental (MCS) and physical (PCS) component summary scores were collected. Time to event, linear and ordinal regressions and multi-state models were used as appropriate.
Results
Of 1,827 SLE patients, 88.9% were female, 48.9% Caucasian, mean ± SD age 35.1±13.3 years, disease duration 5.6±4.8 months and follow-up 4.73±3.45 years. Over the study 863 (47.2%) patients had 1,627 NP events. Mood disorders occurred in 232/1827 (12.7%) patients and 98/256 (38.3%) events were attributed to SLE. The estimated cumulative incidence of any mood disorder after 10 years was 17.7% (95%CI=[15.1%,20.2%]). There was a greater risk of mood disorder in patients with concurrent NP events (p ≤ 0.01) and lower risk with Asian race/ethnicity (p=0.01) and immunosuppressive drugs (p=0.003). Mood disorders were associated with lower mental health subscale and MCS scores but not with SLEDAI-2K, SDI scores or lupus autoantibodies. Antidepressants were used in 168/232 (72.4%) patients with depression. 126/256 (49.2%) mood disorders resolved in 117/232 (50.4%) patients.
Conclusion
Mood disorders, the second most frequent NP event in SLE patients, have a negative impact on HRQoL and improve over time. The lack of association with global SLE disease activity, cumulative organ damage and lupus autoantibodies emphasize their multifactorial etiology and a role for non-lupus specific therapies.
doi:10.1002/art.39111
PMCID: PMC4485527  PMID: 25778456
Systemic lupus erythematosus; Mood disorders; Inception cohort; Outcomes research
2.  Cardiovascular events prior to or early after diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus in the systemic lupus international collaborating clinics cohort 
Lupus Science & Medicine  2016;3(1):e000143.
Objective
To describe the frequency of myocardial infarction (MI) prior to the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and within the first 2 years of follow-up.
Methods
The systemic lupus international collaborating clinics (SLICC) atherosclerosis inception cohort enters patients within 15 months of SLE diagnosis. MIs were reported and attributed on a specialised vascular event form. MIs were confirmed by one or more of the following: abnormal ECG, typical or atypical symptoms with ECG abnormalities and elevated enzymes (≥2 times upper limit of normal), or abnormal stress test, echocardiogram, nuclear scan or angiogram. Descriptive statistics were used.
Results
31 of 1848 patients who entered the cohort had an MI. Of those, 23 patients had an MI prior to SLE diagnosis or within the first 2 years of disease. Of the 23 patients studied, 60.9% were female, 78.3% were Caucasian, 8.7% black, 8.7% Hispanic and 4.3% other. The mean age at SLE diagnosis was 52.5±15.0 years. Of the 23 MIs that occurred, 16 MIs occurred at a mean of 6.1±7.0 years prior to diagnosis and 7 occurred within the first 2 years of follow-up. Risk factors associated with early MI in univariate analysis are male sex, Caucasian, older age at diagnosis, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, family history of MI and smoking. In multivariate analysis only age (OR=1.06 95% CI 1.03 to 1.09), hypertension (OR=5.01, 95% CI 1.38 to 18.23), hypercholesterolaemia (OR=4.43, 95% CI 1.51 to 12.99) and smoking (OR=7.50, 95% CI 2.38 to 23.57) remained significant risk factors.
Conclusions
In some patients with lupus, MI may develop even before the diagnosis of SLE or shortly thereafter, suggesting that there may be a link between autoimmune inflammation and atherosclerosis.
doi:10.1136/lupus-2015-000143
PMCID: PMC4836282  PMID: 27099765
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Cardiovascular Disease; Inflammation
3.  Anti-C1q Antibodies in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Lupus  2014;24(1):42-49.
Objective
Anti-C1q has been associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus nephritis in previous studies. We studied anti-C1q specificity for SLE (vs. rheumatic disease controls) and the association with SLE manifestations in an international multi-center study.
Methods
Information and blood samples were obtained in a cross-sectional study from patients with SLE (n=308) and other rheumatologic diseases (n=389) from 25 clinical sites (84% female, 68% Caucasian, 17% African descent, 8% Asian, 7% other). IgG anti-C1q against the collagen-like region was measured by ELISA.
Results
Prevalence of anti-C1q was 28% (86/308) in patients with SLE and 13% (49/389) in controls (OR=2.7, 95% CI: 1.8-4, p<0.001). Anti-C1q was associated with proteinuria (OR=3.0, 95% CI: 1.7-5.1, p<0.001), red cell casts (OR=2.6, 95% CI: 1.2-5.4, p=0.015), anti-dsDNA (OR=3.4, 95% CI: 1.9-6.1, p<0.001) and anti-Smith (OR=2.8, 95% CI: 1.5-5.0, p=0.01). Anti-C1q was independently associated with renal involvement after adjustment for demographics, ANA, anti-dsDNA and low complement (OR=2.3, 95% CI: 1.3-4.2, p<0.01). Simultaneously positive anti-C1q, anti-dsDNA and low complement was strongly associated with renal involvement (OR=14.9, 95% CI: 5.8-38.4, p<0.01).
Conclusions
Anti-C1q was more common in patients with SLE and those of Asian race/ethnicity. We confirmed a significant association of anti-C1q with renal involvement, independent of demographics and other serologies. Anti-C1q in combination with anti-dsDNA and low complement was the strongest serological association with renal involvement. These data support the usefulness of anti-C1q in SLE, especially in lupus nephritis.
doi:10.1177/0961203314547791
PMCID: PMC4268323  PMID: 25124676
4.  Short-Term Outcome of Neuropsychiatric Events in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus upon Enrollment into an International Inception Cohort Study 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2008;59(5):721-729.
Objective
To determine the short-term outcome of neuropsychiatric (NP) events upon enrollment into an international, inception cohort of SLE patients.
Methods
The study was performed by the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics. Patients were enrolled within 15 months of diagnosis of SLE and NP events were characterized using the ACR case definitions. Decision rules were derived to identify NP events attributable to SLE. Physician outcome scores of NP events and patient derived mental (MCS) and physical (PCS) component summary scores of the SF-36 were recorded.
Results
There were 890 patients (88.7% female) with a mean (± SD) age of 33.8 ± 13.4 years and mean disease duration of 5.3 ± 4.2 months. Within the enrollment window 271/890 (33. 5%) patients had at least 1 NP event encompassing 15 NP syndromes. NP events attributed to SLE varied from 16.5% – 33.9% using alternate attribution models and occurred in 6.0% – 11.5% of patients. Outcome scores for NP events attributed to SLE were significantly better than for NP events due to non-SLE causes. Higher global disease activity was associated with worse outcomes. MCS scores were lower in patients with NP events, regardless of attribution, and were also lower in patients with diffuse and central NP events. There was a significant association between physician outcome scores and patient MCS scores only for NP events attributed to SLE.
Conclusion
In SLE patients the short-term outcome of NP events is determined by both the characteristics and attribution of the events.
doi:10.1002/art.23566
PMCID: PMC4656032  PMID: 18438902 CAMSID: cams5140
Systemic lupus erythematosus; Neuropsychiatric; Inception cohort; Attribution; Outcome
5.  Autoantibodies and Neuropsychiatric events at diagnosis of SLE 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2008;58(3):843-853.
Objective
To examine the association between neuropsychiatric (NP) events with antiphospholipid antibodies (lupus anticoagulant, anticardiolipin), anti-β2 glycoprotein-I, anti-ribosomal P and anti-NR2 glutamate receptor antibodies in an international inception cohort.
Methods
NP events were identified using the ACR case definitions and clustered into central/peripheral and diffuse/focal events. Attribution of NP events was determined using decision rules of different stringency (model A and model B). Autoantibodies were measured without knowledge of NP events or their attribution.
Results
412 patients (87.3% female; mean (± SD) age of 34.9 ± 13.5 years; mean disease duration 5.0 ± 4.2 months) were studied. There were 214 NP events in 133 (32.3%) patients. NP events attributed to SLE varied from 15% (model A) to 36% (model B). There was no association between autoantibodies and NP events from all causes. However the frequency of anti-ribosomal P antibodies in patients with NP events due to SLE (model A) was 4/24 (16.6%) compared to 3/109 (2.8%) for all other NP events and 24/279 (8.6%) with no NP events (P=0.07). Furthermore anti-ribosomal P antibodies in patients with central NP events attributed to SLE (model A) was 4/20 (20%) vs. 3/107 (2.8%) for other NP events and 24/279 (8.6%) with no NP events (P = 0.04). For diffuse NP events the antibody frequencies were 3/11 (27%) compared to 4/111 (3.6%) and 24/279 (8.6%) respectively (P=0.02).
Conclusion
NP events at onset of SLE were associated with anti-ribosomal P antibodies, suggesting a pathogenetic role for this autoantibody. There was no association with other autoantibodies.
doi:10.1002/art.23218
PMCID: PMC4656035  PMID: 18311802 CAMSID: cams5142
Systemic lupus erythematosus; Neuropsychiatric; Autoantibodies; Inception cohort; Attribution
6.  Seizure disorders in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2012;71(9):1502-1509.
Objective
To describe the frequency, attribution, outcome and predictors of seizures in SLE
Methods
The Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) performed a prospective inception cohort study. Demographic variables, global SLE disease activity (SLEDAI-2K), cumulative organ damage (SLICC/ACR Damage Index (SDI)) and neuropsychiatric events were recorded at enrollment and annually. Lupus anticoagulant, anticardiolipin, anti-β2 glycoprotein-I, anti-ribosomal P and anti-NR2 glutamate receptor antibodies were measured at enrollment. Physician outcomes of seizures were recorded. Patient outcomes were derived from the SF-36 mental (MCS) and physical (PCS) component summary scores. Statistical analyses included Cox and linear regressions.
Results
The cohort was 89.4% female with a mean follow up of 3.5±2.9 years. 75/1631 (4.6%) had ≥1 seizure, the majority around the time of SLE diagnosis. Multivariate analysis indicated a higher risk of seizures with African race/ethnicity (HR(CI):1.97 (1.07–3.63); p=0.03) and lower education status (1.97 (1.21–3.19); p<0.01). Higher damage scores (without NP variables) were associated with an increased risk of subsequent seizures (SDI=1:3.93 (1.46–10.55)); SDI=2 or 3:1.57 (0.32–7.65); SDI≥4:7.86 (0.89–69.06); p=0.03). There was an association with disease activity but not with autoantibodies. Seizures attributed to SLE frequently resolved (59/78(76%)) in the absence of anti-seizure drugs. There was no significant impact on the MCS or PCS scores. Anti-malarial drugs in absence of immunosuppressive agents were associated with reduced seizure risk (0.07(0.01–0.66); p=0.03).
Conclusion
Seizures occurred close to SLE diagnosis, in patients with African race/ethnicity, lower educational status and cumulative organ damage. Most seizures resolved without a negative impact on health-related quality of life. Anti-malarial drugs were associated with a protective effect.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2011-201089
PMCID: PMC4656036  PMID: 22492779 CAMSID: cams5144
Systemic lupus erythematosus; Neuropsychiatric; Seizures; Inception cohort
7.  Factors associated with damage accrual in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: results from the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) Inception Cohort 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2014;74(9):1706-1713.
Background and aims
We studied damage accrual and factors determining development and progression of damage in an international cohort of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients.
Methods
The Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) Inception Cohort recruited patients within 15 months of developing four or more 1997 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for SLE; the SLICC/ACR damage index (SDI) was measured annually. We assessed relative rates of transition using maximum likelihood estimation in a multistate model. The Kaplan–Meier method estimated the probabilities for time to first increase in SDI score and Cox regression analysis was used to assess mortality.
Results
We recruited 1722 patients; mean (SD) age 35.0 (13.4) years at cohort entry. Patients with damage at enrolment were more likely to have further worsening of SDI (SDI 0 vs ≥1; p<0.001). Age, USA African race/ethnicity, SLEDAI-2K score, steroid use and hypertension were associated with transition from no damage to damage, and increase(s) in pre-existing damage. Male gender (relative transition rates (95% CI) 1.48 (1.06 to 2.08)) and USA Caucasian race/ethnicity (1.63 (1.08 to 2.47)) were associated with SDI 0 to ≥1 transitions; Asian race/ethnicity patients had lower rates of new damage (0.60 (0.39 to 0.93)). Antimalarial use was associated with lower rates of increases in pre-existing damage (0.63 (0.44 to 0.89)). Damage was associated with future mortality (HR (95% CI) 1.46 (1.18 to 1.81) per SDI point).
Conclusions
Damage in SLE predicts future damage accrual and mortality. We identified several potentially modifiable risk factors for damage accrual; an integrated strategy to address these may improve long-term outcomes.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-205171
PMCID: PMC4552899  PMID: 24834926
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Outcomes research; Corticosteroids; Inflammation
8.  Impact of early disease factors on metabolic syndrome in systemic lupus erythematosus: data from an international inception cohort 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2014;74(8):1530-1536.
Background
The metabolic syndrome (MetS) may contribute to the increased cardiovascular risk in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We examined the association between MetS and disease activity, disease phenotype and corticosteroid exposure over time in patients with SLE.
Methods
Recently diagnosed (<15 months) patients with SLE from 30 centres across 11 countries were enrolled into the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) Inception Cohort from 2000 onwards. Baseline and annual assessments recorded clinical, laboratory and therapeutic data. A longitudinal analysis of factors associated with MetS in the first 2 years of follow-up was performed using random effects logistic regression.
Results
We studied 1150 patients with a mean (SD) age of 34.9 (13.6) years and disease duration at enrolment of 24.2 (18.0) weeks. In those with complete data, MetS prevalence was 38.2% at enrolment, 34.8% at year 1 and 35.4% at year 2. In a multivariable random effects model that included data from all visits, prior MetS status, baseline renal disease, SLICC Damage Index >1, higher disease activity, increasing age and Hispanic or Black African race/ethnicity were independently associated with MetS over the first 2 years of follow-up in the cohort.
Conclusions
MetS is a persistent phenotype in a significant proportion of patients with SLE. Renal lupus, active inflammatory disease and damage are SLE-related factors that drive MetS development while antimalarial agents appear to be protective from early in the disease course.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-203933
PMCID: PMC4515988  PMID: 24692585
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Cardiovascular Disease; Inflammation
10.  Cancer risk in systemic lupus: An updated international multi-centre cohort study 
Journal of autoimmunity  2013;42:130-135.
OBJECTIVE
To update estimates of cancer risk in SLE relative to the general population.
METHODS
A multisite international SLE cohort was linked with regional tumor registries. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated as the ratio of observed to expected cancers.
RESULTS
Across 30 centres, 16,409 patients were observed for 121,283 (average 7.4) person-years. In total, 644 cancers occurred. Some cancers, notably hematologic malignancies, were substantially increased (SIR 3.02, 95% confidence interval, CI, 2.48, 3.63), particularly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, NHL (SIR 4.39, 95% CI 3.46, 5.49) and leukemia. In addition, increased risks of cancer of the vulva (SIR 3.78, 95% CI 1.52, 7.78), lung (SIR 1.30, 95% CI 1.04, 1.60), thyroid (SIR 1.76, 95% CI 1.13, 2.61) and possibly liver (SIR 1.87, 95% CI 0.97, 3.27) were suggested. However, a decreased risk was estimated for breast (SIR 0.73, 95% CI 0.61–0.88), endometrial (SIR 0.44, 95% CI 0.23–0.77), and possibly ovarian cancers (0.64, 95% CI 0.34–1.10). The variability of comparative rates across different cancers meant that only a small increased risk was estimated across all cancers (SIR 1.14, 95% CI 1.05, 1.23).
CONCLUSION
These data estimate only a small increased risk in SLE (versus the general population) for cancer over-all. However, there is clearly an increased risk of NHL, and cancers of the vulva, lung, thyroid, and possibly liver. It remains unclear to what extent the association with NHL is mediated by innate versus exogenous factors. Similarly, the etiology of the decreased breast, endometrial, and possibly ovarian cancer risk is uncertain, though investigations are ongoing.
doi:10.1016/j.jaut.2012.12.009
PMCID: PMC3646904  PMID: 23410586
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Epidemiology; Treatment; Disease Activity
11.  SF-36 summary and subscale scores are reliable outcomes of neuropsychiatric events in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2011;70(6):961-967.
Objective
To examine change in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in association with clinical outcomes of neuropsychiatric (NP) events in SLE.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1136/ard.2010.138792
PMCID: PMC3795436  PMID: 21342917
Systemic lupus erythematosus; Neuropsychiatric; Inception cohort; Health related quality of life; SF-36
12.  Derivation and Validation of Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics Classification Criteria for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2012;64(8):2677-2686.
Objective
The Systemic Lupus Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) revised and validated the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) SLE classification criteria in order to improve clinical relevance, meet stringent methodology requirements and incorporate new knowledge in SLE immunology.
Methods
The classification criteria were derived from a set of 702 expert-rated patient scenarios. Recursive partitioning was used to derive an initial rule that was simplified and refined based on SLICC physician consensus. SLICC validated the classification criteria in a new validation sample of 690 SLE patients and controls.
Results
Seventeen criteria were identified. The SLICC criteria for SLE classification requires: 1) Fulfillment of at least four criteria, with at least one clinical criterion AND one immunologic criterion OR 2) Lupus nephritis as the sole clinical criterion in the presence of ANA or anti-dsDNA antibodies. In the derivation set, the SLICC classification criteria resulted in fewer misclassifications than the current ACR classification criteria (49 versus 70, p=0.0082), had greater sensitivity (94% versus 86%, p<0.0001) and equal specificity (92% versus 93%, p=0.39). In the validation set, the SLICC Classification criteria resulted in fewer misclassifications (62 versus 74, p=0.24), had greater sensitivity (97% versus 83%, p<0.0001) but less specificity (84% versus 96%, p<0.0001).
Conclusions
The new SLICC classification criteria performed well on a large set of patient scenarios rated by experts. They require that at least one clinical criterion and one immunologic criterion be present for a classification of SLE. Biopsy confirmed nephritis compatible with lupus (in the presence of SLE autoantibodies) is sufficient for classification.
doi:10.1002/art.34473
PMCID: PMC3409311  PMID: 22553077
14.  Atherosclerotic Vascular Events in a Multinational Inception Cohort of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) 
Arthritis care & research  2010;62(6):881-887.
Objective
To describe vascular events during an 8 year follow-up in a multicentre SLE inception cohort and their attribution to atherosclerosis.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1002/acr.20122
PMCID: PMC2989413  PMID: 20535799
15.  Prospective Analysis Of Neuropsychiatric Events In An International Disease Inception Cohort of SLE Patients 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2009;69(3):529-535.
Objectives
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1136/ard.2008.106351
PMCID: PMC2929162  PMID: 19359262
Lupus; Neuropsychiatric; Prospective; Inception cohort
16.  Combination therapy with sulfasalazine and methotrexate is more effective than either drug alone in patients with rheumatoid arthritis with a suboptimal response to sulfasalazine: results from the double‐blind placebo‐controlled MASCOT study 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;66(2):235-241.
Background
Optimal use of disease‐modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in rheumatoid arthritis is vital if progression of disease is to be reduced. Methotrexate (MTX) and sulfasalazine (SASP) are widely used inexpensive DMARDs, recently often combined despite no firm evidence of benefit from previous studies.
Aim
To establish whether a combination of SASP and MTX is superior to either drug alone in patients with rheumatoid arthritis with a suboptimal response to 6 months of SASP.
Methods
A randomised controlled study of step‐up DMARD treatment in early rheumatoid arthritis. In phase I, 687 patients received SASP for 6 months. Those with a disease activity score (DAS) ⩾2.4 were offered additional treatment in phase II (SASP alone, MTX alone or a combination of the two). The primary outcome measure was change in DAS.
Results
At 6 months, 191 (28%) patients had a DAS <2.4, 123 (18%) were eligible but did not wish to enter phase II, 130 (19%) stopped SASP because of reversible adverse events and 165 (24%) entered phase II. DAS at 18 months was significantly lower in those who received combination treatment compared with those who received either SASP or MTX: monotherapy arms did not differ. Improvement in European League Against Rheumatism and American College of Rheumatology 20, 50 and 70 scores favoured combination therapy.
Conclusions
In this “true‐to‐life” study, an inexpensive combination of DMARDs proved more effective than monotherapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis with a suboptimal response to SASP. There was no increase in toxicity. These results provide an evidence base for the use of this combination as a component of tight control strategies.
doi:10.1136/ard.2006.057133
PMCID: PMC1798490  PMID: 16926184
17.  Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2005;64(10):1507-1509.
Objectives: To describe demographic factors, subtypes, and survival of patients with SLE who develop NHL.
Methods: A multi-site cohort of 9547 subjects with definite SLE was assembled. Subjects at each centre were linked to regional tumour registries to determine cancer cases occurring after SLE diagnosis. For the NHL cases ascertained, descriptive statistics were calculated, and NHL subtype frequency and median survival time of patients determined.
Results: 42 cases of NHL occurred in the patients with SLE during the 76 948 patient-years of observation. The median age of patients at NHL diagnosis was 57 years. Thirty six (86%) of the 42 patients developing NHL were women, reflecting the female predominance of the cohort. In the patients, aggressive histological subtypes appeared to predominate, with the most commonly identified NHL subtype being diffuse large B cell (11 out of 21 cases for which histological subtype was available). Twenty two of the patients had died a median of 1.2 years after lymphoma diagnosis.
Conclusions: These data suggest aggressive disease in patients with SLE who develop NHL. Continuing work should provide further insight into the patterns of presentation, prognosis, and aetiology of NHL in SLE.
doi:10.1136/ard.2004.034504
PMCID: PMC1755239  PMID: 16162903
18.  Transverse myelitis occurring during pregnancy in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1989;48(2):160-162.
Myelopathy is a well recognised but infrequent neurological manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The case of a 27 year old woman with SLE of seven years' duration who developed a spastic paraparesis during her second pregnancy is reported. Magnetic resonance imaging did not show any intrinsic abnormality of the spinal cord. Anticardiolipin antibody was weakly positive and C4 was low. The patient responded dramatically to steroids.
PMCID: PMC1003705  PMID: 2930267
23.  Clinical associations of the metabolic syndrome in systemic lupus erythematosus: data from an international inception cohort 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;72(8):1308-1314.
Background
The metabolic syndrome (MetS) may contribute to increased cardiovascular risk in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We aimed to examine the association of demographic factors, lupus phenotype and therapy exposure with the presence of MetS.
Methods
The Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics Registry for Atherosclerosis inception cohort enrolled recently diagnosed (<15 months) SLE patients from 30 centres across 11 countries from 2000. Clinical, laboratory and therapeutic data were collected according to a standardised protocol. MetS was defined according to the 2009 consensus statement from the International Diabetes Federation. Univariate and backward stepwise multivariate logistic regression were used to assess the relationship of individual variables with MetS.
Results
We studied 1686 patients, of whom 1494 (86.6%) had sufficient data to determine their MetS status. The mean (SD) age at enrolment and disease duration was 35.2 years (13.4) and 24.1 weeks (18.0), respectively. MetS was present at the enrolment visit in 239 (16%). In backward stepwise multivariable regression analysis, higher daily average prednisolone dose (mg) (OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.03), older age (years) (OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.06), Korean (OR 6.33, 95% CI 3.68 to 10.86) and Hispanic (OR 6.2, 95% CI 3.78 to 10.12) ethnicity, current renal disease (OR 1.79, 95% CI 1.14 to 2.80) and immunosuppressant use (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.18 to 2.78) were associated with MetS.
Conclusions
Renal lupus, higher corticosteroid doses, Korean and Hispanic ethnicity are associated with MetS in SLE patients. Balancing disease control and minimising corticosteroid exposure should therefore be at the forefront of personalised treatment decisions in SLE patients.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-202106
PMCID: PMC3711497  PMID: 22945501
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Cardiovascular Disease; Inflammation; Epidemiology

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