SLE diagnosis and treatment: when early is early

Autoimmun Rev. 2010 Nov;10(1):55-60. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2010.08.014. Epub 2010 Sep 8.


Around 1980 antinuclear antibody testing became widely used in routine laboratory practice leading to a tapering in the lag time between SLE onset and diagnosis. Since then nothing relevant has been introduced which could help us in making the diagnosis of SLE earlier than now. Notably, there is increasing evidence that early diagnosis and treatment could increase SLE remission rate and improve patient prognosis. Although it has been shown that autoantibodies appear before clinical manifestations in SLE patients, currently we cannot predict which autoantibody positive subjects will eventually develop the disease. Thus, great effort should be made in order to identify new biomarkers able to improve our diagnostic potential. B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS), anti-ribosomal P protein and anti-C1q antibodies are among the most promising. In recent years, some therapeutic options have emerged as appropriate interventions for early SLE treatment, including antimalarials, vitamin D, statins and vaccination with self-derived peptides. All these immune modulators seem to be particularly useful when introduced in an early stage of the disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / therapy*
  • Time Factors