Validation of the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics classification criteria in a cohort of patients with full house glomerular deposits

Kidney Int. 2018 Jan;93(1):214-220. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2017.07.017. Epub 2017 Sep 23.


In 2012, the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) presented a new classification for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In this classification, biopsy-confirmed lupus nephritis with positive antinuclear or anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies became a stand-alone criterion. Because of the unknown diagnostic performance among patients from nephrology clinics, we aimed to test the validity of the SLICC classification, compared with the American College of Rheumatology classification, in a cohort of patients whose renal biopsies would raise the clinicopathologic suspicion of lupus nephritis. All patients with a renal biopsy showing full house glomerular deposits and clinical follow-up in our center were included and reevaluated, after which clinicians and a pathologist reached a consensus on the reference-standard clinical diagnosis of SLE. The diagnostic performance and net reclassification improvement were assessed in 149 patients, 117 of whom had clinical SLE. Compared with the American College of Rheumatology classification, the SLICC classification had better sensitivity (100 vs. 94%); although, this was at the expense of specificity (91 vs. 100%; net reclassification improvement -0.03). Excluding the stand-alone renal criterion, the specificity of the SLICC classification reached 100%, with a significant net reclassification improvement of 0.06 compared with the American College of Rheumatology classification. The SLICC classification performed well in terms of diagnostic sensitivity among patients with full house glomerular deposits; whereas, the stand-alone renal criterion had no additional value and compromised the specificity. Thus, presumed patients with lupus nephritis in nephrology clinics reflect a distinct SLE disease spectrum warranting caution when applying SLE classification criteria.

Keywords: lupus; renal pathology; systemic lupus erythematosus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / immunology
  • Biopsy
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Kidney Glomerulus / immunology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Lupus Nephritis / classification
  • Lupus Nephritis / immunology
  • Lupus Nephritis / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear