Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita is an exceedingly rare subepidermal blistering disease caused by antibodies against type VII collagen. Studies summarizing the clinical and immunological features of this disease in large series of patients are scarce.
To analyse the clinical and immunopathological characteristics, treatment responses and outcomes of 12 patients with epidermolysis bullosa acquisita from four tertiary hospitals in Spain.
An extensive retrospective review of clinical charts.
The mean age of onset was 48 years and the mean delay to diagnosis was 20·75 months. The classical phenotype occurred in 42% of cases, inflammatory in 42% and mixed in 17%. Mucosal involvement was present in 75%. Linear IgG deposition along the basement membrane zone was consistently present on direct immunofluorescence examination. Indirect immunofluorescence study was positive in 67% of the cases. Frequently associated diseases were neoplasms (25%), inflammatory bowel disease (25%), hepatitis C virus infection (17%) and thyroid dysfunction (17%). Therapeutic responses were variable.
The prevalence of neoplasms was similar to that seen in inflammatory bowel disease. Multicentric prospective studies including larger numbers of patients are required for a better knowledge and management of this disease.