BACKGROUND: The prognosis of toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), and SJS/TEN overlap syndrome has been assessed using a disease-specific severity score (SCORTEN) based on clinical and laboratory data. Histologic data may improve outcome prediction.
OBJECTIVE: We sought to evaluate whether dermal mononuclear infiltration and epidermal necrosis predict survival of patients with TEN, SJS, or SJS/TEN.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of clinical records and skin biopsy specimens read without knowledge of clinical data.
RESULTS: We identified 108 patients (SJS, n = 42; SJS/TEN, n = 36; TEN, n = 30). Overall mortality was 21.3%. Dermal infiltration and epidermal necrosis were not associated with time from disease onset to biopsy. Extensive dermal infiltrates were seen in 19 (18.5%) patients and full-thickness epidermal necrosis in 56 (52%) patients. Dermal infiltrate severity was not associated with day-1 (D1) SCORTEN or hospital death. Epidermal necrosis severity showed trends toward associations with D1 SCORTEN (P = .11) and hospital death (P = .06). In univariate analyses, full-thickness epidermal necrosis was significantly associated with hospital death (32.1% vs 11.4%, P = .017) and worse D1 SCORTEN values (1.98 ± 1.29 vs 1.55 ± 1.21; P = .04). In the bivariate analysis, however, D1 SCORTEN remained significantly associated with hospital death (odds ratio = 3.07, 95% confidence interval 1.83-5.16) but the association with full-thickness epidermal necrosis was no longer significant (odds ratio = 2.02, 95% confidence interval 0.65-7.12).
LIMITATIONS: Retrospective study design and indirect assessment of progression are limitations.
CONCLUSION: Full-thickness epidermal necrosis was associated with mortality but did not independently predict hospital death after adjustment based on the SCORTEN value. Dermal infiltrate severity was not associated with hospital death.