Lupus band test and disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus: does it still matter?


  • Conflict of interest: none declared.

  • The first two authors contributed equally to this work.

Dr R. D. Zecevic, Department of Dermatology, Military Medical Academy, Crnotravska 17, 11002 Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro. Email:


Background.  Lupus band test still has no clearly defined position within either diagnostic or disease activity measuring tools for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Objectives.  We tested the hypothesis that positive LBT correlates with global activity of SLE measured by the SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) score.

Methods.  In total, 90 SLE patients who underwent biopsy of sunprotected non-lesional (SPNL) skin were studied prospectively. The skin specimen was processed for standard direct immunofluorescence. The patients were classified into groups as negative and positive LBT, and the latter were further subdivided on the basis of the type and morphology of the deposits. Every patient was thoroughly examined and assigned a SLEDAI score. The relationship between LBT findings and SLEDAI score was analysed.

Results.  The disease was significantly more active in patients with positive LBT and in those with a higher number of deposited immunoreactants. Almost all patients with renal involvement had a positive LBT. 

Conclusions.  LBT on SPNL skin may be a good marker of severe disease at presentation, particularly when three immunoglobulins are found at the dermoepidermal junction.