Cutaneous lupus erythematosus: a review of etiopathogenic, clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects

An Bras Dermatol. 2023 May-Jun;98(3):355-372. doi: 10.1016/j.abd.2022.09.005. Epub 2023 Mar 1.


Cutaneous lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease of varied clinical expression, which may present as an exclusively cutaneous disease or be one of the multiple manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus. Its classification includes acute, subacute, intermittent, chronic and bullous subtypes, which are usually identified based on clinical features and histopathological and laboratory findings. Other non-specific cutaneous manifestations may be associated with systemic lupus erythematosus and are usually related to disease activity. Environmental, genetic and immunological factors play a role in the pathogenesis of skin lesions in lupus erythematosus. Recently, considerable progress has been made in elucidating the mechanisms involved in their development, which allows for foreseeing future targets for more effective treatments. This review proposes to discuss the main etiopathogenic, clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of cutaneous lupus erythematosus, aiming to update internists and specialists from different areas.

Keywords: Autoimmune diseases; Lupus erythematosus, cutaneous; Lupus erythematosus, discoid; Lupus erythematosus, systemic; Panniculitis, lupus erythematosus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous* / diagnosis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous* / etiology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous* / therapy
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Discoid* / pathology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / complications
  • Skin / pathology