Background/Purpose Rhupus syndrome (RhS) is a rare combination of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Different studies describe RhS cases that begin with erosive arthritis and the presence of rheumatoid factor (RF) and/or anti CCP and then the SLE symptoms.
Despite the fact that RhS shows a low prevalence, it would be useful to know clinical characteristics of RhS patients since their therapy and outcome differ from those having RA or SLE alone.
Methods Retrospective study with systematic revision of electronic clinical records of RhS patients was performed. Demographic, clinical and immunological data were collected.
Results Eight RhS patients were included (all fulfilled SLICC 2012 criteria for SLE and ACR 2010 for RA). Mean age was 67.3 (45–84) years (7 were female).
In 3 cases RA was the first diagnosis with a mean evolution of 4.5 years until SLE diagnosis. In contrast, in 5 cases SLE was the first diagnosis with a mean evolution of 7.2 years until RA diagnosis. Photosensitivity and arthritis were the predominant clinical manifestations. One patient presents pericarditis and other case showed rheumatoid nodules in elbows. Renal, pulmonary or neurological affection was no reported.
4 patients were under biological/JAK inhibitors therapies (2 abatacept, 1 rituximab and 1 baricitinib) with favorable response of treatment.
Conclusions In contrast to other series, only the 37.5% of our RhS cases begins with polyarticular seropositive arthritis. The 62.5% started with SLE symptoms as haematological alterations, cutaneous and serological manifestation, and showed longer progression to have polyarticular affection. Thus, RhS diagnosis is earlier in patients that begin with RA symptoms. 4 RhS patients were refractory to DMARd treatments, where biological/JAK inhibitors therapies are needed.
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