Optimizing outcome in SLE: treating-to-target and definition of treatment goals

Autoimmun Rev. 2014 Jul;13(7):770-7. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2014.01.055. Epub 2014 Jan 27.


Patients affected with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) display poor-long term prognosis and increased mortality in respect of general population. This may be due to continuous organ damage accrual which is fostered both by persistent disease activity (mainly in the short term) and prolonged corticosteroid exposure (mainly in the long term). The effort of defining novel therapeutic goals to which patients should be treated in order to have their prognosis improved is named treat-to-target. Remission in SLE was shown to be associated with better outcome and prolonged survival; in clinical practice, patients may experience either complete or clinical remission, which are defined as complete clinical/serological healing or no clinical signs of lupus with active serology, respectively. The main treat-to-target in SLE is complete remission, however since longitudinal observations suggest that clinical remission or low disease activity even with minimal corticosteroid intake do improve patients prognosis and survival as well, they may be assumed as acceptable alternative targets. Suitable therapeutic strategies have to be defined in order for these goals to be achieved including early diagnosis, effective treatment and proper corticosteroid tapering which in turn require development of more reliable serum biomarkers for early disease detection and less toxic targeted therapies with a steroid-sparing potential.

Keywords: Damage; Early treatment; SLE; Therapeutic goals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Remission Induction


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Biomarkers