Top 5 Most-Read Lupus Articles of 2021

Research on belimumab, mean platelet volume, and how lupus is linked with other autoimmune diseases appeared in's top 5 most-read lupus articles of 2021.

Three of the top 5 most-read lupus articles of 2021 on highlighted research on belimumab and how it can improve systemic lupus erythematosus.

Here are the top 5 lupus articles of the year.

5. Phase 2 Study Suggests Belimumab After Rituximab Leads to Improvement in SLE

This lupus article from October covered a new study at the time that raised hopes that belimumab (Benlysta) administration following rituximab (Rituxan) can lead to meaningful improvement in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who are refractory to conventional therapy. Patients in the study were first treated with rituximab and then randomly assigned to receive either belimumab or placebo. After a year, the belimumab group had lower anti-double stranded DNA (dsDNA) antibody levels compared with the placebo group, as well as fewer severe flares.

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4. Belimumab Shows Promise in Small Cohort of Adults With NPSLE

This September article discussed how 5 case reports suggested that belimumab was effective at reducing disease activity scores for adults who have neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (NPSLE). New case findings showed belimumab—an anti-BAFF monoclonal antibody that has been approved by the FDA to treat SLE—to potentially be an effective treatment option for patients with NPSLE. BAFF and interleukin 6 expression have been shown to be heightened in patients with SLE, and the authors said more research is needed to better understand the efficacy of this therapy.

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3. Belimumab Has Favorable Safety, Efficacy in Patients With SLE

According to this September article, a new report at the time suggested long-term use of Benlysta is safe in patients with SLE and can lead to durable responses similar to those in other populations. The report saw severe flares occur in 14.8% of patients, at a median of 585 days following the first dose of belimumab. However, the data also showed that patients’ use of prednisone decreased over the long term, a positive sign for belimumab’s efficacy.

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2. Researchers Discover Link Between Platelet Volume, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Researchers described findings that illustrate how mean platelet volume (MPV) may serve as a biomarker of SLE, as this October article covered. With no single biomarker for SLE and several studies showing that MPV may be a sign of inflammation in some chronic diseases, the researchers wanted to determine whether there is a connection between MPV with SLE and inflammatory markers. They found a statistically significant positive link between MPV with arthritis, nephritis, central nervous system involvement, vasculitis, and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI), but also mentioned the need for further research.

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1. Dementia Tied to Most Common Form of Lupus, Study Finds

The most-read lupus article of 2021 was from March and discussed findings that showed a significant association between dementia and the most common form of lupus. The study also found that patients with lupus are at high risk for early vascular dementia and should be screened to prevent occurrence. Although an association was found between dementia and the most common form of lupus, links to other autoimmune diseases—rheumatic arthritis, Sjögren syndrome, and Behcet disease—were not found.

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