Researchers Reflect Upon Different Lupus Tests Used to Diagnose Lupus
Both human epithelial type-2 (HEp-2) cells and an older test using mouse liver (ML) tissue have been used to test for the presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) in people with autoimmune rheumatic diseases, such as lupus. The ANA test is important for the diagnosis of lupus and to enroll lupus patients into research studies and clinical trials. However, there has been emerging evidence to suggest that patients can have very different ANA test results depending on the type of test used.
New research finds that the HEp-2 detects more positive ANAs than ML, while combining HEp-2 and ML or two HEp-2 tests performs slightly better than either test alone. Researchers reviewed health records of people with lupus (418) and other autoimmune rheumatic diseases (543) who had HEp-2 cells and ML ANA tests performed together. Although ML is no longer widely used, the results of this study highlight how ANA testing has changed over time and yet, there is still an ongoing need to find better tests and approaches to testing.
Lead author May Choi, MD, FRCPC is a Lupus Foundation of America Career Development Awardee and shares insights on her research in this Lupus Science and Medicine podcast with co-author Dr. Peter Schur. Dr. Choi, also presented related research at 2020 American College of Rheumatology’s Annual Meeting.
Expanding avenues for testing for lupus can help those with the disease receive treatment sooner and live better. Learn more about the antinuclear antibody test.