The Chinese systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) treatment and research group (CSTAR) provides major clinical characteristics of SLE in China and establishes a platform to provide resources for future basic and clinical studies. CSTAR originated as a multicentre, consecutive, and prospective design. The data were collected online from 104 rheumatology centers, which covered 30 provinces in China. The registered patients were required to meet four or more of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for the classification of SLE. All CSTAR centers use the same protocol-directed methods to provide uniform evaluations, which included demographic data, clinical features, laboratory examinations, and disease activity evaluations. The patient samples, including DNA samples and sera, were also collected for further quality controls and additional studies. Preliminary analysis from 2104 baseline evaluations was available for this analysis. Of 1914 female and 190 male patients (F:M=10.1), the mean age at onset was 29.2 y with confirmed diagnosis one year later at the age of 30.3 y. Eighty four (4.2%) of 2002 patients had a family history of rheumatic diseases, including 34 (1.7%) cases with SLE. In addition, one hundred and seven (5.2%) abnormal pregnancies were recorded among 2026 experiences. The characteristics of the CSTAR cohort were compared to similarly sized cohorts from other studies. We found that 56.1% of patients presented with concurrent hematological disorders compared to only 18.2% of European patients. Moreover, 47.4% of patients presented with nephropathy compared to 27.9% of European patients. Conversely, neurological manifestations were only seen in 4.8% of Chinese SLE patients compared to 19.4% of European patients, 12.1% of U.S. patients, 22.8% of Malaysian patients and 26.4% of Latin Americans. Pulmonary arterial hypertension and interstitial lung diseases were complications identified in 3.8% and 4.2% of Chinese lupus patients, respectively. The CSTAR registry has provided epidemiological data and phenotypes of Chinese patients with SLE, and has demonstrated several differences between ethnicities. Clinical data and biologic samples would be valuable resources for future translational studies with national and international collaboration.
Keywords: Systemic lupus erythematosus; epidemiology; registry.