The novel systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) disease activity assessment tool, SLE Disease Activity Score (SLE-DAS), has been validated to detect more clinically relevant differences in SLE disease activity compared with previous tools, according to results from a study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.  

Researchers conducted a prospective cohort study of 520 patients with SLE from 2 different treatment centers. Participants were recruited for up to 5 years, and 2 separate cohorts were used to validate the tool. Multivariate regression techniques were applied to data from patients within the SLE-DAS cohort to create the instrument. During follow-up, clinicians measured disease activity using the SLE Disease Activity Index 2000 (SLEDAI-2K) and Physician Global Assessment (PGA) tools, which are currently used in clinical trials.   

After analysis, the researchers were able to construct and validate the SLE-DAS instrument successfully. The SLE-DAS provides a continuous score derived from 17 distinct parameters to measure global disease activity. Furthermore, the authors reported greater sensitivity with the SLE-DAS tool than with the SLEDAI-2K to identify clinically significant improvement (89.5% vs 47.4%; P =.008) or decline (95.5% vs 59.1%; P =.008) in SLE activity over time. However, both tools showed comparable sensitivity.

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“Limitations of our study include the use given to PGA, given its subjective nature,” the researchers wrote.

“SLE-DAS has a good construct validity and has better performance than SLEDAI-2K in identifying clinically significant changes in disease activity and in predicting damage accrual,” they concluded.

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Jesus D, Matos A, Henriques C, et al. Derivation and validation of the SLE Disease Activity Score (SLE-DAS): a new SLE continuous measure with high sensitivity for changes in disease activity [published online January 9, 2019]. Ann Rheum Dis. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-214502