Occurrence of focal myositis during Behçet's disease: The identification of a specific vasculitis-associated focal myopathy

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2023 Apr;49(2):e12900. doi: 10.1111/nan.12900.


Aims: This study aimed to report the association of focal myositis (FM) and Behçet's disease (BD) and to analyse the main characteristics of such an association.

Methods: This is a retrospective multicentre study of patients with BD and FM (BD + FM+ group) and those without FM (BD - FM+ group). Clinical, laboratory, radiological, pathological, treatment and outcome data were analysed.

Results: The BD + FM+ group included 10 patients; the median [interquartile range] age at BD diagnosis was 25 [16-35] years, and at FM diagnosis, it was 30 [26-42] years. The diagnosis of BD preceded FM in the majority of cases (n = 8/10). FM occurrence was associated with BD flare-ups in three cases. The creatine kinase levels remained normal or slightly increased. Histological analyses identified relatively preserved muscle tissue, associated with vasculitis (n = 5/6). All patients required treatment; most patients relapsed (n = 9/10). The BD - FM+ group included 35 patients. A comparison of the groups identified a trend towards a younger median age at diagnosis of FM among those with BD (p = 0.063) and more frequent focal muscle swelling in the BD + FM+ group (p = 0.029). The pathological analysis identified significantly less frequent muscle alterations in the BD + FM+ group (muscle fibre size heterogeneity, p = 0.021; necrosis, p = 0.007; and fibrosis, p = 0.027). BD + FM+ patients had a higher frequency of relapse (p = 0.003) and systematic treatment (p = 0.042).

Conclusions: FM occurring during BD appears to be part of the systemic vasculitis process and presents as a vasculitis-associated focal myopathy with a specific clinico-histological pattern. Patients with this association require long-term follow-up and adapted management. This case series also highlights the need for research on BD diagnostic criteria in cases of FM.

Keywords: Behçet's disease; focal myositis; vasculitis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Behcet Syndrome* / complications
  • Behcet Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Behcet Syndrome* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Muscular Diseases*
  • Myositis*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vasculitis* / complications