Background: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multifaceted disease, and its diagnosis may be challenging. A blood test for the diagnosis of SLE, the Avise Lupus test, has been recently commercialized and validated in clinical studies.
Objectives: To evaluate the use of the Avise Lupus test by community rheumatologists.
Methods: The study is a longitudinal, case-control, retrospective review of medical charts. Cases had a positive test result, and controls had a negative result; all patients were anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA) positive but negative for SLE-specific autoantibodies. Features of SLE, diagnosis, and medications at two time points were recorded.
Results: Twenty of the 23 cases (87%) and 4 of the 23 controls (17%) were diagnosed with SLE (sensitivity=83%; specificity=86%). More cases than controls (43% vs. 17%) fulfilled 4 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) classification criteria of SLE. Sensitivity of the test was significantly higher than the ACR score (83% vs. 42%, p=0.006). A higher percentage of patients who met the classification criteria had elevated cell-bound complement activation products (CB-CAPs) compared to patients who did not. Anti-rheumatic medications were used in a higher percentage of cases than controls (83% vs. 35% at baseline, p=0.002), suggesting that cases were treated more aggressively early on.
Conclusion: A positive Avise Lupus test result aids in formulating a SLE diagnosis when diagnosis based on standard-of-care tests and clinical features may be challenging, and impacts patient management. Prospective studies will be performed to better evaluate the clinical utility of the test and of CB-CAPs as biomarkers of SLE.
Keywords: Biomarkers; Case-control study; Diagnostic test; Medical chart review.