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Prospective evaluation of treatment response and disease reversibility of paediatric localized scleroderma (morphoea) to steroids and methotrexate using multi-modal imaging


Weibel, L; Theiler, M; Howell, K J; Denton, C P; Waelchli, R; Atherton, D; Woo, P; Harper, J I (2020). Prospective evaluation of treatment response and disease reversibility of paediatric localized scleroderma (morphoea) to steroids and methotrexate using multi-modal imaging. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology, 34(7):1609-1616.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Paediatric localized scleroderma is a severe inflammatory disorder associated with tissue atrophy, often leading to disability. Assessing disease activity and response to treatment has always been challenging and remains an important difficulty in clinical practice.

OBJECTIVES

To investigate prospectively the efficacy of systemic treatment with corticosteroids and methotrexate in children with localized scleroderma and the validity of infrared thermography, laser Doppler flowmetry and high-frequency ultrasound in assessing disease activity.

METHODS

Children with localized scleroderma were prospectively treated with corticosteroids (initially pulsed IV methylprednisolone 30 mg/kg/day, maximum 500 mg/day and/or oral prednisolone 0.5-1 mg/kg/day) and methotrexate (15 mg/m$^{2}$ weekly). Treatment response was evaluated using a clinical activity score. Skin temperature, blood flow, dermal thickness and dermal echogenicity of clinically active skin lesions were determined in relation to the unaffected contralateral site at baseline and after 3, 6, 12 and 18 months. Patient charts were later reviewed for long-term follow-up.

RESULTS

Twenty-two patients were included [age 6.0 (0.2-14.4] years; female-to-male ratio 3.4 : 1) All responded well to therapy. Disease reversibility was demonstrated in the majority of children with partial resolution of skin sclerosis and regrowth of hair. Laser Doppler flowmetry and high-frequency ultrasound findings correlated with disease activity at baseline. Thermography had no added value in this cohort. The recurrence rate was 36% in the follow-up period.

CONCLUSIONS

Corticosteroids and methotrexate are highly effective as first-line therapy in paediatric localized scleroderma, leading to partial reversal of skin manifestations. However, the recurrence rate is substantial and affected children require long-term follow-up. Laser Doppler flowmetry and high-frequency ultrasound correlate with disease activity in the acute phase and may assist decision-making in these patients.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Paediatric localized scleroderma is a severe inflammatory disorder associated with tissue atrophy, often leading to disability. Assessing disease activity and response to treatment has always been challenging and remains an important difficulty in clinical practice.

OBJECTIVES

To investigate prospectively the efficacy of systemic treatment with corticosteroids and methotrexate in children with localized scleroderma and the validity of infrared thermography, laser Doppler flowmetry and high-frequency ultrasound in assessing disease activity.

METHODS

Children with localized scleroderma were prospectively treated with corticosteroids (initially pulsed IV methylprednisolone 30 mg/kg/day, maximum 500 mg/day and/or oral prednisolone 0.5-1 mg/kg/day) and methotrexate (15 mg/m$^{2}$ weekly). Treatment response was evaluated using a clinical activity score. Skin temperature, blood flow, dermal thickness and dermal echogenicity of clinically active skin lesions were determined in relation to the unaffected contralateral site at baseline and after 3, 6, 12 and 18 months. Patient charts were later reviewed for long-term follow-up.

RESULTS

Twenty-two patients were included [age 6.0 (0.2-14.4] years; female-to-male ratio 3.4 : 1) All responded well to therapy. Disease reversibility was demonstrated in the majority of children with partial resolution of skin sclerosis and regrowth of hair. Laser Doppler flowmetry and high-frequency ultrasound findings correlated with disease activity at baseline. Thermography had no added value in this cohort. The recurrence rate was 36% in the follow-up period.

CONCLUSIONS

Corticosteroids and methotrexate are highly effective as first-line therapy in paediatric localized scleroderma, leading to partial reversal of skin manifestations. However, the recurrence rate is substantial and affected children require long-term follow-up. Laser Doppler flowmetry and high-frequency ultrasound correlate with disease activity in the acute phase and may assist decision-making in these patients.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Surgery
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Dermatology
Health Sciences > Infectious Diseases
Language:English
Date:July 2020
Deposited On:10 Feb 2021 14:02
Last Modified:11 Feb 2021 21:00
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0926-9959
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/jdv.16308
PubMed ID:32080907

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