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J Rheumatol. 2005 Sep;32(9):1760-1.

Remitting seronegative symmetrical synovitis with pitting edema syndrome: followup for neoplasia.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.



To investigate whether the remitting seronegative symmetrical synovitis with pitting edema (RS3PE) syndrome may represent a paraneoplastic disorder in a significant percentage of cases.


Patients diagnosed with RS3PE syndrome at the Medical College of Wisconsin before 1995 were telephoned and asked about their rheumatologic course since initial diagnosis of RS3PE and whether they had been diagnosed with any cancer. If so, permission was obtained to review tissue pathology. Criteria used for diagnosis of RS3PE syndrome included sudden onset of painful diffuse swelling of both hands associated with pitting edema of the dorsa of the hands without other synovitis or evidence of disease, negative rheumatoid factor, absence of radiologic abnormalities, and resolution within 6-12 months without sequelae. Data from the national SEER databank on population incidence of cancers in the appropriate sex, age, and ethnic groups for the years under study were used to assess relative risk for cancer.


There were 10 patients for whom followup data were available. Four had a cancer diagnosed following recognition of the RS3PE syndrome; 1 patient developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma initially diagnosed as hairy cell leukemia after 4 years; 1 developed acute lymphocytic leukemia with hyperdiploidy after 14 years; 1 was diagnosed with male breast cancer after 2.5 years; and 1 developed squamous cell lung cancer 12 months after RS3PE diagnosis. SEER data project an estimated rate of 2-3 cancers in a similar group of 10 patients of the same sex, age, and time period for this geographic area.


The small sample size in this longterm followup precludes extrapolation to larger populations but suggests that there may be a slightly higher than expected rate of neoplasia in patients diagnosed with RS3PE syndrome. The interval between onset of RS3PE syndrome and diagnosis of cancer was fairly long, indicating that patients should be monitored for neoplasia with prudent age and sex specific surveillance for an extended period after diagnosis with RS3PE.

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