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The presence of anti-DFS70 antibodies appears to be strongly linked to atopic dermatitis and may be a factor in the incorrect diagnosis of connective tissue disease.

Connective tissue disease (CTD) is an umbrella term for a group of autoimmune disorders that affect connective tissues in the body, including joints, skin, and muscles. This study, published in the Journal of the German Society of Dermatology, investigates the prevalence of anti-dense fine speckled 70 kD (DFS70) antibodies in patients referred for consultation on CTD and explores the association between anti-DFS70 antibodies and atopic dermatitis.

Study Participants’ Characteristics

The study involved 40 patients (32 women, 8 men) referred for consultation on CTD. The three most common referral diagnoses were “connective tissue disease” (28%), “systemic lupus erythematosus” (28%), and “systemic sclerosis” (13%). Of the 40 patients, only 12.5% (n = 5) were confirmed with CTD, while 12.5% (n = 5) were unclear, and in 75% (n = 30) of cases, no evidence of CTD was found.

Positive ANA and DFS Pattern

In the 40 patients referred for CTD consultation, 90% had positive ANA at a cut-off of 1:80. Additionally, 35% (n = 14) presented with the DFS pattern, and anti-DFS70 antibodies were detected in 12.5% (n = 5). The detection of anti-DFS70 antibodies in patients with no evidence of CTD contributed to misdiagnosis in 26.7% (n = 8) of patients who received systemic treatment before the consultation.

Anti-DFS70 Antibodies and Atopic Dermatitis

To analyze the relationship between anti-DFS70 antibodies and atopic dermatitis, 110 patients with atopic dermatitis and 89 control patients were enrolled in the study. There was a significant difference in the prevalence of anti-DFS70 antibodies between the study group (10%) and the control group (0%). The DFS pattern was also detected more frequently in patients with atopic dermatitis (22.7%) than in control patients (5.6%).

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Anti-DFS70 Antibodies May Indicate Atopic Dermatitis, Not CTD

This study suggests that anti-DFS70 antibodies may be a potential biomarker for atopic dermatitis and that their presence may contribute to the misdiagnosis of CTD. When considering a CTD diagnosis, it is important to recognize the presence of anti-DFS70 antibodies, as they may indicate atopic dermatitis rather than CTD. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and investigate the potential use of anti-DFS70 antibodies as a diagnostic tool for atopic dermatitis.


Santler, B., Wimmer, L., Schlueter, B., & Ehrchen, J. (2023). Anti-DFS70 antibodies are associated with atopic dermatitis and can cause misdiagnosis of connective tissue disease. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddg.15022