European Journal of Rheumatology
Original Article

Detailed features of hematological involvement and medication-induced cytopenia in systemic lupus erythematosus patients: single center results of 221 patients


Division of Rheumatology Department of Internal Medicine, Eskişehir Osmangazi University, Eskişehir, Turkey

Eur J Rheumatol 2017; 4: 87-92
DOI: 10.5152/eurjrheum.2017.160086
Read: 2379 Downloads: 2012 Published: 03 September 2019


Objective: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) may affect a number of systems, with the hematological system being one of the most common. Our aim is to determine the existence of cytopenia at diagnosis or during follow-up of our SLE patients as well as the associated factors.


Material and Methods: A cohort of SLE patients that had been followed-up in the Department of Rheumotology from 1998 to 2015 was retrospectively assessed. Clinical and laboratory findings about the patients were recorded.


Results: Out of 221 patients composing the cohort, cytopenia was already present in 83.3% (n=184) at the time of diagnosis. Anemia was detected in 56.1% (n=124), leukopenia in 28.9% (n=64), lymphopenia in 76% (n=168), neutropenia in 4.5% (n=10), and thrombocytopenia in 17.2% (n=38) of patients. The proportion of patients with cumulative cytopenia was 90% (n=199). Cumulative cytopenia was disease-related in 83.4% (n=166) and medication-related in 16.6% (n=33) of the patients. In cases of drug-induced cytopenia, azathioprine was the most frequently prescribed drug. In patients with cytopenia at the time of diagnosis, erythrocyte sedimentation rates (ESR) were higher, C3 and C4 hypocomplementemia was more prevalent, and they were positive for anti-ds-DNA at a greater proportion (p<0.001, p=0.015, p=0.028, and p=0.019, respectively). Moreover, photosensitivity, renal involvement, and antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) were detected more frequently in patients with cytopenia at the time of diagnosis. There was no difference between the two patient sets in terms of other organ involvement (p>0.05).


Conclusion: The most common hematological disorders in SLE patients are lymphopenia and anemia, and patients must be further examined for APS and renal involvement if they suffer cytopenia.

EISSN 2148-4279