The objective of this meta-analysis was to review the diagnostic performance of anti-dsDNA testing, to determine whether test specificity meets the revised 2019 EULAR/ACR classification criteria for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The new criteria state that anti-dsDNA testing should be conducted using “an immunoassay with demonstrated ≥ 90% specificity for SLE against relevant disease controls”.
A systematic review (MEDLINE, Embase, CENTRAL and DARE) identified cross-sectional or case-control studies published January 2004 to August 2019, reporting anti-dsDNA test accuracy data. Studies included cases of SLE (confirmed using one or more of three validated SLE classification criteria sets) and a disease control group. Data were adjusted to exclude healthy controls. A hierarchical, bivariate mixed-effect meta-analysis of eligible quantitative studies was conducted in STATA MP v16.1 to produce a pooled estimate of sensitivity and specificity.
The review identified six fluorescence immunoassay (FEIA) dsDNA studies (1977 total patients, of whom 47% had SLE) eligible to be included in quantitative meta-analysis and all reported a point estimate >90% for specificity. The meta-analysis estimated a pooled specificity of 94.7% (95% CI 91.67%-96.67%).
The meta-analysis has demonstrated that the specificity of FEIA dsDNA is ≥90% for SLE, against relevant disease controls, and therefore performs in accordance with the 2019 classification criteria.

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