The incidence and causes of long-term remission in cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) were not well understood. For a study, researchers sought to evaluate the prevalence, the causes of remission, and the duration of remission during CLE, both with and without therapy.

The study was a longitudinal cohort that included biopsy-proven CLE patients who were evaluated between November 1, 2019, and April 30, 2021, and who had at least six months of follow-up following diagnosis. There were records of demographic information, CLE subtypes, remission status, and therapies. A Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus Disease Area and Severity Index activity score of 0 indicated remission. Remission lasting more than >3 years was seen to be long-term.

With a median time since diagnosis of 11.4 years (interquartile range, 4.2-24.7) and 141 patients included (81% of women), 93 (66%) were in remission at the most recent check-up. Of the 114 patients who had at least three years of follow-up, 22 (19%) experienced long-term remission, including 5 (4.4%) who were not receiving systemic therapy. A decreased probability of long-term remission was linked to active smoking (odds ratio, 0.22 [95% CI: 0.05-0.97]; P=.04) and discoid CLE lesions (odds ratio, 0.14 [95% CI, 0.04-0.48]; P=.004).

In CLE, long-term remission is uncommon and is negatively correlated with discoid CLE and active smoking.