Can UCTD Turn into Lupus?

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Ask the experts

I have UCTD, and I would like to know if UCTD could turn into Lupus or another connective tissue disease.

Doctor's response

Yes. Undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD) is a condition which melts together features of various classical diseases. The classical connective tissue diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, and Sjogren's syndrome.

UCTD is referred to as "undifferentiated" because the features that it displays are not adequate as criteria for any one of the classical connective tissue diseases. These features include signs and symptoms as well as immune and blood tests of these diseases.

The fact is that UCTD can evolve slowly, even over years, to become one of the classical connective tissue diseases or it may never evolve at all. Also, the very features which suggest UCTD can resolve and the disease go away entirely.

It is anticipated that as medical science evolves, so too will the ability to better categorize and pigeonhole various forms of UCTD into unique disease entities.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


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Reviewed on 8/28/2017

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