Demographic and clinical characteristics of cutaneous lupus erythematosus at a paediatric dermatology referral centre

Br J Dermatol. 2013 Aug;169(2):428-33. doi: 10.1111/bjd.12383.


Background: Paediatric cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) is uncommon and inadequately described in the literature. Similar to adults, children with CLE develop LE-specific and/or LE-nonspecific skin findings. Similarities and differences in demographics and clinical course between paediatric and adult CLE have not been sufficiently described.

Objectives: To detail the demographic and clinical features of paediatric CLE and compare these findings with those reported in the adult literature.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed of 53 children seen in a paediatric dermatology clinic with cutaneous manifestations of LE.

Results: Patients presented with all five major subtypes of CLE, with some notable differences from adult CLE and previously published reports of paediatric CLE. Progression from discoid LE to systemic LE (SLE) did not occur in our cohort. Patients with subacute CLE were more likely than adults to have lesions below the waist as well as concomitant SLE. Sex distribution for CLE in our study was equal prior to puberty and female predominant in post-pubertal patients.

Conclusions: Children with CLE have variable clinical presentations and progression to SLE that may be different from adult disease. Specifically, children with acute and subacute CLE may be more likely than adults to have systemic disease; therefore, patients with these subtypes should be monitored closely for evidence of SLE. Study limitations included small patient numbers that may limit the ability to generalize these data and relatively short follow-up intervals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / epidemiology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / ethnology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / pathology
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology