Treatment of cutaneous lupus erythematosus: Current approaches and future strategies

Hong Shi, Johann E. Gudjonsson, J. Michelle Kahlenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewCutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) is a highly heterogeneous autoimmune disease. No specific Federal Drug Administration-approved therapies for CLE-alone are available, and resistance to conventional treatments is common. This review will summarize current treatment approaches and pending treatment strategies.Recent findingsResearch into the pathogenesis of CLE is accelerating. A skewed type I interferon production and response contribute to CLE lesions. The pathophysiology of lesions may be similar among the lesional subtypes, and patients with a more TLR9-driven disease mechanism may have more benefit from hydroxychloroquine. Case reports continue to support the use of dapsone for CLE, especially bullous lupus erythematosus. Rituximab and Belimumab have efficacy in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and severe active CLE. The significant role for type I interferons in CLE and encouraging clinical data suggest anifrolumab as a very promising agent for CLE. Dapirolizumab, BIIB059, Ustekinumab and Janus kinase inhibitors also have supportive early data as promising new strategies for CLE treatment.SummaryContinued research to understand the mechanisms driving CLE will facilitate the development and approval of new targets. The pipeline for new treatments is rich.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-214
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Rheumatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • antimalarials
  • biologic therapies
  • cutaneous lupus
  • interferon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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