Objectives To determine whether progressive skin fibrosis is associated with visceral organ progression and mortality during follow-up in patients with diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis (dcSSc). Methods We evaluated patients from the European Scleroderma Trials and Research database with dcSSc, baseline modified Rodnan skin score (mRSS) ≥7, valid mRSS at 12±3 months after baseline and ≥1 annual follow-up visit. Progressive skin fibrosis was defined as an increase in mRSS >5 and ≥25% from baseline to 12±3 months. Outcomes were pulmonary, cardiovascular and renal progression, and all-cause death. Associations between skin progression and outcomes were evaluated by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and multivariable Cox regression. Results Of 1021 included patients, 78 (7.6%) had progressive skin fibrosis (skin progressors). Median follow-up was 3.4 years. Survival analyses indicated that skin progressors had a significantly higher probability of FVC decline ≥10% (53.6% vs 34.4%; p<0.001) and all-cause death (15.4% vs 7.3%; p=0.003) than non-progressors. These significant associations were also found in subgroup analyses of patients with either low baseline mRSS (≤22/51) or short disease duration (≤15 months). In multivariable analyses, skin progression within 1 year was independently associated with FVC decline ≥10% (HR 1.79, 95% CI 1.20 to 2.65) and all-cause death (HR 2.58, 95% CI 1.31 to 5.09). Conclusions Progressive skin fibrosis within 1 year is associated with decline in lung function and worse survival in dcSSc during follow-up. These results confirm mRSS as a surrogate marker in dcSSc, which will be helpful for cohort enrichment in future trials and risk stratification in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)648-656
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.05.2019

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


Dive into the research topics of 'Progressive skin fibrosis is associated with a decline in lung function and worse survival in patients with diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis in the european scleroderma trials and research (eustar) cohort'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this