Objective: To examine clinical characteristics, laboratory features, and outcomes of patients with lupus-like syndrome attributable to anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) therapy.
Patients and methods: We performed a retrospective review of patients with lupus-like syndrome attributable to anti-TNF-alpha therapy at Mayo Clinic's site in Rochester, MN, between July 1, 2000, and June 30, 2008.
Results: Of 14 patients (mean age at disease onset, 46.2 years), 12 (86%) were female. Ten patients (71%) had Crohn disease, and 4 (29%) had rheumatoid arthritis. Thirteen patients (93%) originally were treated with infliximab, and 1 (7%) was treated with adalimumab. A lupus-ike syndrome occurred after a mean treatment duration of 16.2 months. Features of lupus included presence of antinuclear antibodies (14 patients [100%]), arthritis (13 patients [93%]), anti-double-stranded-DNA antibodies (10 patients [71%]), cutaneous findings (malar rash, discoid rash, or photosensitivity, 4 patients [29%]), serositis (4 patients [29%]), hematologic abnormalities (4 patients [29%]), oral ulcers (4 patients [29%]), and lupus anticoagulant (1 patient [7%]). No patient had renal or neurologic abnormalities. All patients improved after stopping anti-TNF-alpha therapy (mean time to improvement, 2.9 months). Four (80%) of 5 patients tolerated an alternative TNF-alpha inhibitor (adalimumab, 3 patients; etanercept, 1 patient) without recurrence of lupus-like syndrome.
Conclusion: Compared with previous studies, cutaneous findings were less frequent and arthritis was more frequent in our cohort of patients. Some patients were able to tolerate an alternative TNF-alpha inhibitor without recurrence of lupus-like syndrome.