Researchers, motivated by inconsistent results from previous trials, performed a meta-analysis and found a significant association between atopic dermatitis (AD) and increased odds of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Given their findings, lead study author, Ben Ponvilawan, MD, suggested that “clinicians who take care of patients with AD should be aware of the higher risk,” and that, “further evaluation is warranted when they develop new systemic symptoms.” The study was published in the Journal of Postgraduate Medicine.

Researchers identified six case-control studies with 19,713 participants and used a random-effect, generic inverse variance method to combine effect estimate and standard error in the meta-analysis. A funnel plot was used to assess publication bias.

The analysis revealed significantly increased odds of SLE among patients with AD with a pooled odds ratio of 1.46 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05–2.04). The authors provided various explanations for the association, including factors genetic predisposition. They also theorized that the increased levels of IgE in patients with SLE—as observed in recent studies—is similar patients with AD. Therefore, immune dysregulation caused by AD could give rise to SLE later in life.

The report noted that the study was limited by between-study heterogeneity, limited accuracy of case identification in the primary studies, and publication bias. However, the authors judged that their study confirmed an association between AD and risk of SLE despite the fact that, “common susceptibility locus and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in HLA genes are yet to be found.”

Source: Journal of Postgraduate Medicine