Clinical manifestations of cutaneous lupus erythematosus

Autoimmun Rev. 2005 Jun;4(5):296-302. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2005.01.003. Epub 2005 Feb 10.


The skin findings seen in lupus erythematosus can present with either lupus-specific or lupus-nonspecific findings, with lupus-specific skin disease showing findings histopathologically distinct for cutaneous lupus erythematosus. Lupus-specific skin diseases include chronic cutaneous, subacute cutaneous, and acute cutaneous lupus erythematosus. The types of skin lesions in each group are clinically distinct and recognizing the specific subsets helps in prognosticating the likelihood of underlying systemic lupus. A number of medications are associated with cutaneous lupus, in particular with subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus. Lupus nonspecific skin lesions are not histopathologically distinct for cutaneous lupus and/or may be seen as a feature of another disease process. Nonspecific disease-related skin lesions are frequently seen in patients with SLE, usually in the active phase of the disease. The current ACR classification criteria for SLE include four somewhat overlapping dermatologic criteria, butterfly rash, discoid lupus, photosensitivity, and oral ulcers and thus patients can be classified as having SLE with only skin manifestations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / diagnosis*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / physiopathology*