Degos-like lesions are cutaneous manifestations of a small-vessel vasculopathy that appear as atrophic, porcelain-white papules with red, telangiectatic borders. No study has adequately examined Degos-like lesions in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc).
To characterize the serologic, cutaneous, and internal organ manifestations associated with Degos-like lesions in a large cohort of patients with SSc.
This retrospective cohort study involved adult patients with SSc who were seen at Stanford Rheumatologic Dermatology Clinic between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2018. Participants fulfilled the 2013 classification criteria for SSc. Data analysis was conducted from February 1 to June 1, 2019.
Data on demographic characteristics; autoantibody status; clinical characteristics, including cutaneous and systemic manifestations of SSc; and presence of Degos-like lesions were collected.
The cohort comprised 506 patients with SSc (447 females [88.3%]; mean [SD] age at first non-Raynaud disease symptoms, 46.1 [15.2] years). Twenty-seven patients (5.3%) had Degos-like lesions, of whom 24 (89.0%) had lesions affecting the fingers. Patients with Degos-like lesions were more likely to have diffuse cutaneous SSc compared with patients without lesions (15 [55.6%] vs 181 [37.8%]; P = .04). Degos-like lesions were also associated with acro-osteolysis (10 [37.0%] vs 62 [12.9%]; P < .01), digital ulcers (15 [55.6%] vs 173 [36.1%]; P = .04), and calcinosis (15 [55.6%] vs 115 [24.0%]; P < .01). While Degos-like lesions were not associated with internal organ manifestations, such as scleroderma renal crisis, interstitial lung disease, or pulmonary arterial hypertension, there was P < .10 for the association with gastric antral vascular ectasia.
Results of this study suggest an association of Degos-like lesions with diffuse cutaneous SSc and other cutaneous manifestations of vasculopathy, including acro-osteolysis, calcinosis, and digital ulcers. A prospective longitudinal study is warranted to examine the onset of Degos-like lesions and to elucidate whether these lesions play a role in SSc.