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Lupus. 2012 Nov;21(13):1412-22. doi: 10.1177/0961203312456751. Epub 2012 Aug 3.

Distinct phenotypes in mixed connective tissue disease: subgroups and survival.

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Institute of Immunology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


The aim of the present study was to assess the autoantibody profile, dominant clinical symptoms and cluster characteristics of different mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD phenotypes. Two-hundred-and-one patients with MCTD were followed-up longitudinally. Five clinical parameters, Raynaud's phenomenon, pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH), myositis, interstitial lung disease (ILD), erosive arthritis and five auto-antibodies besides anti-U1RNP, antiendothelial cell antibodies (AECA), anti-CCP, anti-cardiolipin (anti-CL), anti-SSA/SSB and IgM rheumatoid factor (RF) were selected for cluster analysis. The mean age of patients was 52.9 ± 12.4 years and the mean follow-up of the disease was 12.5 ± 7.2 years. Patients were classified into three cluster groups. Cluster 1 with 77 patients, cluster 2 with 79 patients and cluster 3 with 45 patients. In cluster 1 the prevalence of PAH (55.8%; p < 0.001), Raynaud's phenomenon (92.2%; p < 0.001) and livedo reticularis (24.6%, p < 0.001) was significantly greater than in cluster 2 and 3. In cluster 2, the incidence of ILD (98.7%; p < 0.001), myositis (77.2%; p < 0.001), and esophageal dysmotility (89.8%; p < 0.001) was significantly greater than that in cluster 1 and 3. In cluster 3, anti-CCP antibodies were present in 31 of 45 patients (68.8%) with erosions. Anti-CCP antibodies were present in 37 of 42 patients (88.0%) with erosions. PAH, angina, venous thrombosis was observed in cluster 1 and pulmonary fibrosis in cluster 2, musculosceletal damage, gastrointestinal symptoms and osteoporotic fractures were most frequent in cluster 3. Cumulative survival assessment indicated cluster 1 patients having the worst prognosis. Cluster analysis is valuable to differentiate among various subsets of MCTD and useful prognostic factor regarding the disease course.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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