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Risk of systemic lupus erythematosus in patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: a population-based cohort study


Background Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) may play a role in early-stage systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The incidence of SLE in patients with ITP and the potential relationship between them is still unclear. This study was performed to provide epidemiological evidence regarding the relationship between ITP and SLE occurrence.

Methods In this population-based retrospective cohort study, the risk of SLE was analysed in a cohort of patients newly diagnosed with ITP between 2000 and 2013. Controls were selected at a 1:2 ratio through propensity score matching (PSM) using the greedy algorithm. The Cox proportional hazard model was used to analyse the association between ITP and SLE incidence. There were four different Cox regression models, and the sensitivity analyses were implemented to evaluate the HR of SLE after exposure with ITP.

Results In the age-matched and sex-matched ITP and non-ITP cohort, the average follow-up time was about 80 months in this study. There were 34 (4.70%) and 27 (0.19%) incident cases of SLE in ITP and non-ITP group. The incidence rates were 62.0 (95% CI 44.3 to 86.8) and 2.10 (95% CI 1.44 to 3.06), respectively. The adjusted HR of incidental SLE in the ITP group was 25.1 (95% CI 13.7 to 46.0). The other risk factors for SLE were female sex and Sjogren’s syndrome. After PSM, the incidence rate and Kaplan-Meir curves of SLE were consistent with the results for the age-matched and sex-matched population, the HR 17.4 (95% CI 5.28 to 57.4) was estimated by conditional Cox model.

Conclusion This cohort study demonstrated that patients with ITP have a higher risk of SLE. Clinically, patients with ITP should be monitored for incidental lupus.

  • systemic lupus erythematosus
  • autoimmune diseases
  • epidemiology

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