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Tuen Mun, Hong Kong

To study the level of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and its relationship with disease activity, damage, and cardiovascular risk factors in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Consecutive patients who fulfilled ≥4 American College of Rheumatology criteria for SLE who did not have a concurrent infection were recruited. Blood was assayed for hsCRP level, and disease activity, organ damage of SLE, and cardiovascular risk factors were assessed. Linear regression analyses were performed for the relationship between hsCRP levels, SLE activity, damage, and cardiovascular risk factors. In total, 289 patients were studied (94% women, mean ± SD age 39.0 ± 13.1 years, and mean ± SD SLE duration 7.8 ± 6.7 years). The mean ± SD Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) score was 4.9 ± 5.6 and clinically active SLE was present in 122 patients (42%). The mean ± SD hsCRP level was 4.87 ± 12.7 mg/liter, and 28 patients with active SLE (23%) had an undetectable hsCRP level (<0.3 mg/liter). The linear regression analyses revealed a significant correlation between hsCRP level and musculoskeletal disease (β = 0.21), hematologic disease (β = 0.19), active serositis (β = 0.46), and clinical SLEDAI score (β = 0.24) after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, serum creatinine, and the use of various medications (P < 0.005 for all). hsCRP levels correlated significantly with anti-double-stranded DNA titer (β = 0.33, P < 0.001) but did not correlate with complement C3 (β = -0.07, P = 0.26). An hsCRP level >3 mg/liter was significantly associated with male sex, long-term smoking, diabetes mellitus, a higher atherogenic index, and a history of arterial thrombosis. hsCRP levels correlated significantly with pulmonary and endocrine damage scores. hsCRP was detectable in 77% of SLE patients with clinically active disease and correlated with SLEDAI scores, particularly in serositis and in the musculoskeletal and hematologic systems. Elevated hsCRP levels in SLE were associated with certain cardiovascular risk factors and a history of arterial thromboembolism. Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Rheumatology. Source


Mok C.C.,Tuen Mun Hospital | Kwok R.C.L.,University of Hong Kong | Yip P.S.F.,University of Hong Kong
Arthritis and Rheumatism | Year: 2013

Objective To study the effect of renal disease on the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) and life expectancy of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods Patients whose diagnosis met ≥4 American College of Rheumatology criteria for SLE were longitudinally followed up from 1995 to 2011. The cumulative survival rate, SMR, and life expectancy were calculated, and the effect of renal involvement, histologic class of lupus nephritis, renal damage, and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) on these parameters was evaluated. Results Of the 694 SLE patients studied, 368 (53%) had renal disease, and the distribution of histologic classes (among 285 patients) was class I (1%), class II (6%), class III (19%), class IV (47%), class III/IV + class V (10%), and class V (16%). Renal damage was present in 79 patients (11%), and 24 (3%) developed ESRD. The age- and sex-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) of mortality in SLE patients with renal disease, those with renal damage, and those with ESRD, as compared to those without, were 2.23 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.29-3.85), 3.59 (95% CI 2.20-5.87), and 9.20 (95% CI 4.92-17.2), respectively. Proliferative lupus nephritis (adjusted HR 2.28, 95% CI 1.22-4.24), but not the pure membranous type (adjusted HR 1.09, 95% CI 0.38-3.14), was associated with a significant increase in mortality. The age- and sex-adjusted SMRs of SLE patients without renal involvement, those with lupus nephritis, those with proliferative nephritis, those with pure membranous nephritis, those with renal damage, and those with ESRD were 4.8 (95% CI 2.8-7.5), 9.0 (95% CI 6.7-11.9), 9.8 (95% CI 6.5-14.1), 6.1 (95% CI 2.0-14.1), 14.0 (95% CI 9.1-20.5), and 63.1 (95% CI 33.6-108.0), respectively. The life expectancy of SLE patients with renal disease and those with renal damage was reduced by 15.1 years and 23.7 years, respectively, compared to the general population. Conclusion The presence of renal disease, in particular proliferative nephritis causing renal insufficiency, significantly reduces the survival and life expectancy of SLE patients. Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Rheumatology. Source


Mok C.C.,Tuen Mun Hospital
Drug Design, Development and Therapy | Year: 2013

Rituximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody that targets the CD20 molecule expressed on the surface of B cells. It was first used in the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and later approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that does not respond adequately to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, including the anti-tumor-necrosis-factor (TNF) biologics. Sustained efficacy in RA can be achieved by repeated courses of rituximab. However, the optimal dose and retreatment schedule of rituximab in RA remains to be established. Seropositivity, complete B cell depletion shortly after treatment, and previous failure to no more than one anti-TNF agent are three factors associated with greater clinical benefits to rituximab. Infusion reaction to the first dose of rituximab occurs in approximately 25% of RA patients, and the incidence reduces with subsequent exposure. Immunogenicity to the chimeric compound occurs in 11% of RA patients, but this does not correlate with its efficacy in B cell depletion. Extended observation of randomized controlled trials in RA does not reveal a significant increase in the incidence of serious infections related to rituximab compared to placebo groups, and the infection rate remains static over time. Repeated treatment with rituximab is associated with hypogammaglobulinemia, which may increase the risk of serious, but rarely opportunistic, infections. Reactivation of occult hepatitis B infection has been reported in RA patients receiving rituximab, but no increase in the incidence of tuberculosis was observed. Screening for baseline serum immunoglobulin G level and hepatitis B status (including occult infection) is important, especially in Asian countries where hepatitis B infection is prevalent. The rare but fatal progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy linked to the use of rituximab has to be noted. Postmarketing surveillance and registry data, particularly in Asia, are necessary to establish the long-term efficacy and safety of rituximab in the treatment of RA. © 2014 Mok. Source


Mok C.C.,Tuen Mun Hospital
Nature Reviews Rheumatology | Year: 2016

Renal involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) carries substantial morbidity and mortality. Conventional immunosuppressive agents (cyclophosphamide and azathioprine) have suboptimal efficacy and substantial toxicity. Mycophenolate mofetil has emerged as an alternative agent for both induction and maintenance therapy in lupus nephritis because of its reduced gonadal toxicity, despite its failure to demonstrate superiority over cyclophosphamide in pivotal studies. The calcineurin inhibitor tacrolimus has equivalent efficacy to cyclophosphamide and mycophenolate mofetil for inducing remission of lupus nephritis. Although rituximab has shown promise in refractory lupus nephritis, combining rituximab with mycophenolate mofetil as initial therapy offers no additional benefit. Considerable interethnic variation is evident in the efficacy and tolerability of the various immunosuppressive regimens, which necessitates individualized treatment and comparison of the efficacy of new regimens across different ethnic groups. For example, low-dose combinations of tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil seem to be more effective than pulse cyclophosphamide as induction therapy in Chinese patients. The same regimen has also been used successfully to treat refractory proliferative and membranous lupus nephritis in patients of various ethnic groups. Finally, novel serum and urinary biomarkers are being validated for diagnosis, prognostic stratification and early recognition of flares in lupus nephritis. © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Source


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a fairly common rheumatic disease in Hong Kong, China. The prevalence and annual incidence of SLE are estimated to be 0.1% and 6.7/100,000 population, respectively. The 10-year cumulative survival of SLE patients in Hong Kong is 83% and the age and gender-adjusted standardized mortality ratio was 5.25 (1.64-10.4) from 1999 to 2008. The commonest cause of death is infections (60%), followed by cardiovascular complications (16%). Life expectancy analysis reveals a loss of 20 years in women and 27 years in men when SLE develops at birth. The loss in life years is greatest in the younger age groups. Renal damage is the most frequent disease-related damage, whereas musculoskeletal damage is the commonest treatment-related complication. The quality of life of our SLE patients is impaired and declines over time, which is contributed by new organ damage. One-third of our patients lose their ability to work within 5 years of disease onset, which is mainly attributed to musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression symptoms, and memory deterioration. With the availability of novel therapeutics and an increased awareness of complication prevention in SLE, it is expected that our patients will live longer with a better quality of life in the next decade. © 2011 The Author(s). Source

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