Performance of the 2012 Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics classification criteria versus the 1997 American College of Rheumatology classification criteria in adult and juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus. A systematic review and meta-analysis

Autoimmun Rev. 2018 Mar;17(3):316-322. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2018.01.007. Epub 2018 Jan 31.


Objective: To evaluate the performance in classifying systemic lupus erythematosus by the 2012 Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics criteria (SLICC'12), versus the revised American College of Rheumatology criteria from 1997 (ACR'97) in adult and juvenile SLE patients.

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed and Embase for studies comparing SLICC'12 and ACR'97 with clinical diagnosis. A meta-analysis was performed to estimate the sensitivity and specificity of SLICC'12 and ACR'97. To assess classification earlier in the disease by either set, sensitivity and specificity were compared for patients with disease duration <5years. Sensitivity and specificity of individual criteria items were also assessed.

Results: In adult SLE (nine studies: 5236 patients, 1313 controls), SLICC'12 has higher sensitivity (94.6% vs. 89.6%) and similar specificity (95.5% vs. 98.1%) compared to ACR'97. For juvenile SLE (four studies: 568 patients, 339 controls), SLICC'12 demonstrates higher sensitivity (99.9% vs. 84.3%) than ACR'97, but much lower specificity (82.0% vs. 94.1%). SLICC'12 classifies juvenile SLE patients earlier in disease course. Individual items contributing to diagnostic accuracy are low complement, anti-ds DNA and acute cutaneous lupus in SLICC'12, and the immunologic and hematologic disorder in ACR'97.

Conclusion: Based on sensitivity and specificity SLICC'12 is best for adult SLE. Following the view that higher specificity, i.e. avoidance of false positives, is preferable, ACR'97 is best for juvenile SLE even if associated with lower sensitivity. Our results on the contribution of the individual items of SLICC'12 and ACR´97 may be of value in future efforts to update classification criteria.

Keywords: American College of Rheumatology; Classification criteria; Meta-analysis; Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics; Systemic lupus erythematosus.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / classification*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Male
  • Rheumatology / classification*
  • United States
  • Young Adult