Scleroderma: nomenclature, etiology, pathogenesis, prognosis, and treatments: facts and controversies

Clin Dermatol. 2013 Jul-Aug;31(4):432-437. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2013.01.010.

Abstract

Scleroderma refers to a heterogeneous group of autoimmune fibrosing disorders. The nomenclature of scleroderma has changed dramatically in recent years, with morphea (localized scleroderma), limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis, diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis, and systemic sclerosis sine scleroderma encompassing the currently accepted disease subtypes. Major advances have been made in the molecular studies of morphea and systemic sclerosis; however, their etiologies and pathogenesis remain incompletely understood. Although morphea and systemic sclerosis demonstrate activation of similar inflammatory and fibrotic pathways, important differences in signaling pathways and gene signatures indicate they are likely biologically distinct processes. Morphea can cause significant morbidity but does not affect mortality, whereas systemic sclerosis has the highest disease-specific mortality of all autoimmune connective tissue diseases. Treatment recommendations for morphea and systemic sclerosis are based on limited data and largely expert opinions. Current collaborative efforts in morphea and systemic sclerosis research will hopefully lead to better understanding of the etiology and pathogenesis of these rare and varied diseases and improved treatment options.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Phototherapy / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Scleroderma, Localized* / drug therapy
  • Scleroderma, Localized* / etiology
  • Scleroderma, Systemic* / drug therapy
  • Scleroderma, Systemic* / etiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Terminology as Topic*

Substances

  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents