Sjogrens Studies from Italy



The 2016 classification criteria for primary Sjogren's syndrome: what's new?

Franceschini F, Cavazzana I, Andreoli L, Tincani A.

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New 2016 ACR/EULAR classification criteria for primary Sjogren's syndrome (SS) have been developed and endorsed by the ACR. The newly proposed criteria include simple-to-perform items.Two important points of the new criteria should be considered. Firstly, they indicate that either salivary gland biopsy or anti-Ro must be positive in order to corroborate the inflammatory and autoimmune nature of the disease. Secondly, the criteria recognize the systemic nature of SS, namely that patients without salivary or ocular glandular symptoms, but with extraglandular manifestations and B cell activation markers were also included in the SS classification. Additionally, the new criteria modified some technical points. The ocular staining score threshold was increased to 5 due to the higher specificity. The immunological profile includes only anti-Ro antibodies, while positivity for antinuclear antibodies and rheumatoid factor or isolated anti-La was excluded due to a lack of specificity.The 2016 ACR/EULAR criteria are suitable for early identification of SS, providing patients with the opportunity of enrollment in clinical trials for new specific treatment. Although validation has been successful, the real life application of these criteria will test their performance.




Risk, Predictors, and Clinical Characteristics of Lymphoma Development in Primary Sjögren's Syndrome

Roser Solans-Laqué, MD, PhD




To assess the risk and predictors of lymphoma development in a large cohort of patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS).



Cox-regression analyses were used to study the predictive value of clinical and laboratory findings at pSS diagnosis, and Kaplan-Meier survival curves to compare survival probability between patients who developed lymphoma and the total cohort. Expected risk for lymphoma was calculated by comparison with the background population.



Eleven (4.5%) from 244 patients developed a non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Diffuse large B-cell and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphomas occurred at a similar frequency. Three (27.3%) patients died: 2 due to transformation from mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue to diffuse large B-cell. Purpura (HR 8.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.33-27.67), parotidomegaly (HR 6.75, 95%CI 1.89-23.99), anemia (HR 3.43, 95%CI 1.04-11.35), leukopenia (HR 8.70, 95%CI 2.38-31.82), lymphocytopenia (HR 16.47, 95%CI 3.45-78.67), hypergammaglobulinemia (HR 4.06, 95%CI 1.06-15.58), low C3 (HR 36.65, 95%CI 10.65-126.18), and low C4 (HR 39.70, 95%CI 8.85-126.18) levels at pSS diagnosis were significant predictors of NHL development, but only hypocomplementemia and lymphocytopenia were independent risk factors.


Hypocomplementemia was related to earlier development of NHL and higher mortality. The cumulative risk of developing lymphoma ranged from 3.4% in the first 5 years to 9.8% at 15 years. Standardized incidence ratio (95%CI) for NHL development was 15.6 (95%CI 8.7-28.2).



Patients with pSS have a 16-fold increased risk of developing lymphoma. This risk increases with time. Hypocomplementemia and lymphocytopenia at pSS diagnosis are the strongest predictors. Survival is clearly reduced in patients with hypocomplementemia. Indolent lymphomas tend to evolve over time toward a more aggressive histologic type.




Primary Sjogren's syndrome as a multi-organ disease: impact of the serological profile on the clinical presentation of the disease in a large cohort of Italian patients.

Baldini C1, Pepe P, Quartuccio L, Priori R, Bartoloni E, Alunno A, Gattamelata A, Maset M, Modesti M, Tavoni A, De Vita S, Gerli R, Valesini G, Bombardieri S.

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The aims of this study were to describe the clinical presentation of primary SS (pSS) in a large cohort of patients by assessing the prevalence of the patient subgroups at high risk for severe extraglandular manifestations and to explore the influence of the patients' serological profile on disease severity and on immunosuppressive drug utilization.



Cumulative demographic, clinical, serological, histological and therapeutic data of 1115 pSS patients were retrospectively evaluated. Independent serological markers for glandular and extraglandular disease manifestations were identified by logistic regression.



The cohort included 1115 (1067 female, 48 male) pSS patients. Severe extraglandular manifestations were detectable in 15% of the patients and were represented by active synovitis (11%), axonal sensory-motor neuropathy (2%), severe leucocytopenia (14%), cutaneous vasculitis (6%) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (4.5%). We found that low C3/C4, hypergammaglobulinaemia, RF and cryoglobulinaemia were markers of severity for pSS. According to the number of serological variables, the patients were subdivided into three distinct groups: favourable (no serological markers), intermediate (one serological marker) and poor (two or more serological markers). In comparison with the other two patient groups, pSS patients presenting with two or more adverse determinants had a higher frequency of severe visceral disease complications and required more aggressive therapeutic interventions.



This study confirmed that the prevalence of the pSS high-risk subset for severe systemic manifestations is ∼15%. Serological markers might help in the early identification of patients who are candidates to receive more aggressive treatments.