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Abstract

Objective

The Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) group revised and validated the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) classification criteria in order to improve clinical relevance, meet stringent methodology requirements, and incorporate new knowledge regarding the immunology of SLE.

Methods

The classification criteria were derived from a set of 702 expert-rated patient scenarios. Recursive partitioning was used to derive an initial rule that was simplified and refined based on SLICC physician consensus. The SLICC group validated the classification criteria in a new validation sample of 690 new expert-rated patient scenarios.

Results

Seventeen criteria were identified. In the derivation set, the SLICC classification criteria resulted in fewer misclassifications compared with the current ACR classification criteria (49 versus 70; P = 0.0082) and had greater sensitivity (94% versus 86%; P < 0.0001) and equal specificity (92% versus 93%; P = 0.39). In the validation set, the SLICC classification criteria resulted in fewer misclassifications compared with the current ACR classification criteria (62 versus 74; P = 0.24) and had greater sensitivity (97% versus 83%; P < 0.0001) but lower specificity (84% versus 96%; P < 0.0001).

Conclusion

The new SLICC classification criteria performed well in a large set of patient scenarios rated by experts. According to the SLICC rule for the classification of SLE, the patient must satisfy at least 4 criteria, including at least one clinical criterion and one immunologic criterion OR the patient must have biopsy-proven lupus nephritis in the presence of antinuclear antibodies or anti–double-stranded DNA antibodies.