While clearly different in their aims and means, classification and diagnosis both try to accurately label the disease patients are suffering from. For systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), this is complicated by the multi-organ nature of the disease and by our incomplete understanding of its pathophysiology. Hallmarks of SLE are the presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA), and multiple immune-mediated organ symptoms that are largely independent. In an attempt to overcome limitations of the current sets of SLE classification criteria, a new four-phase approach is being developed, which is jointly supported by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). This review attempts to delineate the performance of the current sets of criteria, the reasons for the decision for classification, and not diagnostic, criteria, and to provide a background of the current approach taken.
Keywords: ANA; Systemic lupus erythematosus; autoantibodies; classification criteria; immune complexes.
© The Author(s) 2016.