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עמוד בית
Sat, 18.05.24

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January 2024
Milena Tocut MD, Amir Tanay MD, Gisele Zandman-Goddard MD

Paraneoplastic syndromes are reported in 8–15% of patients diagnosed with cancer [1]. They are defined as syndromes that occur due to an underlying malignancy, which has yet to be diagnosed, or at the time of the diagnosis and less frequently following the diagnosis of a malignancy. Several mechanisms are involved including autocrine and paracrine mediators, hormones, peptides, cytotoxic lymphocytes, and cytokines [1,2].

November 2020
Katya Dolnikov MD, Gai Milo MD, Suheir Assady MD, Robert Dragu MD, Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD
February 2020
Doron Rimar MD, Yonatan Butbul Aviel MD, Aharon Gefen MD, Neta Nevo MD, Shai S. Shen-Orr PhD, Elina Starosvetsky PhD, Itzhak Rosner MD, Michael Rozenbaum MD, Lisa Kaly MD, Nina Boulman MD, Gleb Slobodin MD and Tsila Zuckerman MD

Background: Autologous hematological stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a novel therapy for systemic sclerosis (SSc) that has been validated in three randomized controlled trials.

Objectives: To report the first Israeli experience with HSCT for progressive SSc and review the current literature.

Methods: Five SSc patients who were evaluated in our department and were treated by HSCT were included. Medical records were evaluated retrospectively. Demographic, clinical, and laboratory data were recorded. Continuous data are presented as the mean ± standard deviation. Categorical variables are presented as frequencies and percentages.

Results: Five SSc patients were treated with HSCT. Four patients were adults (mean age 53 ± 12 years) and one was a 12-year-old pediatric patient. All patients were female. HSCT was initiated 1.4 ± 0.8 years after diagnosis. Two patients were RNA POLIII positive, two were anti-topoisomerase 1 positive, and one only antinuclear antibodies positive. All patients had skin and lung involvement. The mean modified Rodnan Skin Score was 29 ± 4.7 before HSCT, which improved to 10.4 ± 9.6 after HSCT. The forced vital capacity improved from 68 ± 13% to 90 ± 28%. Diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide increased by 6%. Among severe adverse events were cyclophosphamide-related congestive heart failure, antithymocyte globulin-related capillary leak syndrome, and scleroderma renal crisis. All symptoms completely resolved with treatment without sequela. No treatment related mortality was recorded.

Conclusions: HSCT is an important step in the treatment of progressive SSc in Israel. Careful patient selection reduces treatment related morbidity and mortality.

January 2019
Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Vika Shataylo BSc and Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD

Background: The aggregation of autoimmune diseases in relatives (AID-R) of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) has been reported.

Objectives: To analyze the prevalence of autoimmune diseases in SSc relatives and to compare their features to those of SSc patients without AID-R (controls).

Methods: A case-control analysis compared SSc patients with AID-R to those without AID-R (25 patients) with similar disease duration.

Results: Among 322 patients, 25 (7.7%; 21 females, 41.4 ± 15.6 years of age, disease duration 11 ± 8.6 years) had AID-R (21 had a first-degree relative, 4 had a second-degree relative, and 2 had both). Fourteen patients (56%) and five controls (20%) had an additional autoimmune disease (P < 0.009). Diffuse SSc (48% vs. 24%) and arthritis (72% vs. 28%) were more frequent among the patients with AID-R than the controls (P < 0.05). No significant differences were found regarding lung, heart, vascular, and digestive system involvement. The mean number of additional autoimmune diseases was 0.84 ± 0.94 in AID-R vs. 0.24 ± 0.52 in controls (P < 0.038). The mean number of autoantibodies was 2.8 ± 1.5 and 2.2 ± 0.9 (P < 0.047). Five patients died during follow-up, four of whom had AID-R. Relatives of SSc patients had diverse autoimmune diseases; the prevalence of SSc in scleroderma relatives was 1.86% (2 in first-degree and 6 in second-degree relatives). SSc patients with AID-R had an obvious tendency to polyautoimmunity.

Conclusion: A precise family history is an important clue in prognosis and prediction of autoimmune diseases in SSc patients and their relatives.

September 2015
Rina Elimelech BDS, Yaniv Mayer DMD, Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, Eli E. Machtei DMD and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD

Background: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a chronic disease with prominent vasculopathy, inflammation, production of autoantibodies, and tissue fibrosis. Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory oral condition manifesting as microbial infection, inflammation and destruction of the alveolar bone. In both conditions tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) and other pro-inflammatory cytokines play an important role in pathogenesis. 

Objectives: To assess the periodontal status in SSc patients and compare these parameters to TNFα level in gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) of SSc patients and healthy controls.

Methods: Twenty SSc patients and 20 controls underwent periodontal examination, including probing depth (PD), plaque index (PI), gingival index (GI), bleeding on probing (BOP), and measurement of TNFα levels in collected GCF. 

Results: SSc patients had a greater PD (3.74 ± 0.32 mm vs. 3.35 ± 0.31 mm, P > 0.003), GI (1.53 ± 0.34 vs. 1.12 ± 0.54, P > 0.049), and non-significantly higher BOP than controls. TNFα levels in GCF were higher in SSc patients (1.63 ± 0.36 vs. 1.15 ± 0.34 pg/ml, P = 0.001). Periodontitis parameters correlated with several SSc variables; PI in particular was higher in patients with longer disease duration, sclerodactyly, more severe skin involvement, and SSc activity score.

Conclusions: Patients with SSc have higher indices of periodontal inflammation and higher TNFα level in GCF than did healthy individuals. These changes probably reflect the complexity of factors that influence oral health in SSc. Common pathologic pathways may be responsible for the association between SSc and periodontitis, which requires further study.

 

March 2015
Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Mordechai Yigla MD, Ludmila Guralnik MD, Emilia Hardak MD, Anna Solomonov MD, Alexander P. Rozin MD, Kohava Toledano MD, Amir Dagan MD, Rema Bishara MD, Doron Markovits MD PhD, Menahem A. Nahir MD and Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD

Abstract

Background: Scleroderma lung disease (ILD-SSc) is treated mainly with cyclophosphamide (CYC). The effectiveness of CYC was judged after 12–24 months in most reports.

Objectives: To analyze the effect of monthly intravenous CYC on pulmonary function tests including forced vital capacity (FVC) and diffusing lung capacity (DLCO), as well as Rodnan skin score (mRSS), during long-term follow-up.

Methods: We retrospectively collected the data on 26 ILD-SSc patients who began CYC treatments before 2007. Changes in FVC, DLCO and mRSS before treatment, and at 1, 4 and 7 years after completion of at least six monthly intravenous CYC treatments for ILD-SSc were analyzed.

Results: Mean cumulative CYC dose was 8.91 ± 3.25 G. More than 30% reduction in FVC (0%, 8%, and 31% of patients), DLCO (15%, 23%, 31%), and mRSS (31%, 54%, 62%) at years 1, 4 and 7 was registered. During the years 0–4 and 4–7, annual changes in FVC, DLCO and mRSS were 3.2 vs. 0.42% (P < 0.040), 4.6 vs. 0.89% (P < 0.001), and 1.8 vs. 0.2 (P = 0.002). The greatest annual FVC and DLCO reduction over the first 4 years correlated with mortality (P = 0.022). There were no differences in the main variables regarding doses of CYC (< 6 G and > 6 G).

Conclusions: In patients with ILD-SSc, CYC stabilized the reduction of FVC during treatment, but this effect was not persistent. The vascular characteristic of ILD-SSc (DLCO) was not affected by CYC treatment. CYC rapidly improved the mRSS. This effect could be achieved with at least 6 G of CYC. Higher rates of annual reduction in FVC and DLCO in the first 4 years indicate the narrow window of opportunity and raise the question regarding ongoing immunosuppression following CYC infusions.

 

February 2015
Narin N. Carmel MD, Pnina Rotman-Pikielny MD, Alexey Lavrov MD and Yair Levy MD


Background: Vitamin D is a pivotal factor in calcium homeostasis and exerts immunomodulatory effects. Hypovitamin D has been demonstrated in systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients and may be related to more severe disease of longer duration and with extensive skin involvement. 

Objectives: To seek anti-vitamin D antibodies in SSc patients, as found by previous research in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Methods: The study included 54 SSc patients and 41 volunteers. Immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgM autoantibody levels against 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)D were obtained from patients and controls and compared. SSc patients were assessed for autoantibody profile and disease severity. 

Results: Vitamin D antibodies were present in 87% of SSc patients and 42% of controls. Higher levels of anti-25(OH)D IgM antibodies were detected in SSc patients compared to controls (0.48 ± 0.22 vs. 0.29 ± 0.29, respectively, P = 0.002); however, IgG levels were lower in the SSc patients. No such discriminative effect was found regarding anti-1,25(OH)D antibodies between SSc and controls. No correlation was found between vitamin D antibodies and other autoantibodies, disease severity, or target organ damage.

Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of these novel anti-vitamin D antibodies in SSc patients and the first time a correlation between IgM 25(OH) vitamin D antibodies and scleroderma has been identified. Further research on the pathophysiological significance and therapeutic potential of vitamin D is required. 

 
January 2011
A. Balbir-Gurman and Y. Braun-Moscovici

Background: Overlap syndrome is an entity that satisfies the criteria of at least two connective tissue diseases. These conditions include systemic sclerosis, dermatomyositis or polymyositis, Sjogren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. A combined pathology has impact on the clinical features, diagnosis and treatment.

Objectives: To analyze the features of SSc[1] patients with overlap syndrome registered in the European (EUSTAR) database at our center and to review the literature focusing on clinical and diagnostic issues and new treatments.

Methods: We studied the medical records of 165 consecutive SSc patients and reviewed cases with scleroderma overlap syndrome. Using the key words “overlap syndrome," "systemic sclerosis," “connective tissue disease” and “biological agents” we conducted a PubMed search for the period 1977 to 2009.

Results: Forty patients satisfied the criteria for scleroderma overlap syndrome. The incidence of additional connective tissue diseases in the whole group and in the overlap syndrome group respectively was: dermatomyositis or polymyositis 11.5% and 47.5%, Sjogren's syndrome 10.3% and 42.5%, rheumatoid arthritis 3.6% and 15.4%, and systemic lupus erythematosus 1.2% and 5.0%. Coexistence of SSc and another CTD[2] aggravated the clinical course, especially lung, kidney, digestive, vascular and articular involvement. Non-rheumatic complications mimicked SSc complications. An additional rheumatic or non-rheumatic disease affected treatment choice.

Conclusions: The definition of scleroderma overlap syndrome is important, especially in patients who need high-dose corticosteroids for complications of a CTD. The use of novel biological therapies may be advocated in these patients to avoid the hazardous influences of high-dose steroids, especially renal crisis. In some overlap syndrome cases, biological agents serve both conditions; in others one of the conditions may limit their use. In the absence of formal clinical trials in these patients a cautious approach is preferred.






[1] SSc = systemic cclerosis

[2] CTD = connective tissue disease


July 2010
April 2010
T. Eidlitz-Markus, M. Mukamel, Y. Haimi-Cohen, J. Amir and A. Zeharia

Background: Pathologic breast conditions are rare in childhood and adolescence. The spectrum of breast disease in the pediatric age group is different from that in adults, and most lesions are benign

Objectives: To describe the causes and characteristics of breast asymmetry in adolescents with normal endocrine profiles and sexual development.

Methods: The files of patients with a diagnosis of breast asymmetry referred to a tertiary pediatric center from 1990 to 2007 were reviewed for history and findings on physical examination with or without imaging, treatment and outcome.

Results: Eleven patients aged 12.5 to 18 years were identified. The cause of the breast asymmetry was traced to unpreventable medical factors in eight patients (physiologic, Poland anomaly, scleroderma), preventable/iatrogenic factors in two patients (chest tissue biopsy, thoracic drain), and possible combined medical-iatrogenic factors in one patient (scoliosis treated by a body brace). All patients were referred for breast reconstruction after full breast development.

Conclusions: Severe breast asymmetry in adolescence may be due to congenital factors, diseases involving the breast tissue, or to the effects of medical treatment, and may have severe adverse psychological and social implications. To prevent iatrogenic breast asymmetry, physicians should be made aware of the sensitivity of the breast tissue and should avoid unnecessary tests/procedures that involve the chest wall. In most cases a precise medical history and physical examination can differentiate between physiologic and non-physiologic causes.

March 2002
Giselle Zandman-Goddard, MD and Sigal Tal, MD
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