Publication Date


Journal Title

Semin Arthritis Rheum


© 2017 Elsevier Inc. Objective: In the present review, four new cases of bone marrow failure are presented and the potential contribution of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is discussed. Furthermore, a comprehensive literature review of cases of autoimmune myelofibrosis (AIMF), aplastic anemia (AA), and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) with concurrent SLE aims to allow their direct comparison. Based on a clearer characterization of reported cases and our own experience, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies of these disorders in SLE are proposed based on lessons learned from the present and previous cases. Methods: A literature search was done in PubMed, accessed via the National Library of Medicine PubMed interface ( Using PubMed, a Boolean search of the literature was performed by crossing the keywords “systemic lupus erythematosus,” AND [“bone marrow fibrosis” or “bone marrow failure” or “myelofibrosis” or “aplastic anemia” or “paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria”]. Results: After a stringent selection of previous cases with a clear diagnosis of SLE, we summarized in the present review 31 cases of AIMF, 26 cases of AA, and 3 cases of PNH. In addition, four new cases illustrate the problem of attribution of bone marrow failure to SLE. Conclusions: The attribution of SLE to bone marrow failure is challenging due to a lack of biomarkers, which complicates treatment decisions. Autoimmune myelofibrosis is likely underreported, but corticosteroids and intravenous immunoglobulin appear to be effective immediate therapies. In AA attributable to SLE, a serum inhibitor of bone marrow precursors should be tested, since plasma exchange has been universally successful in these cases, and a PNH clone should be tested for in the setting of ongoing hemolysis, as complement inhibition may be effective. Further research is warranted to elucidate pathophysiological mechanisms of bone marrow failure in SLE.

Volume Number


Issue Number



90 - 104

Document Type



Faculty; Northwell Researcher; Northwell Resident


School of Medicine; Northwell Health

Primary Department


Additional Departments

Molecular Medicine





Included in

Rheumatology Commons