Objective: Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients. We aimed to investigate the impact of sex on SSc-ILD. Methods: EUSTAR SSc patients with radiologically confirmed ILD and available percentage predicted forced vital capacity (%pFVC) were included. Demographics and disease features were recorded. A change in %pFVC over 12 months (s.d. 6) (cohort 1) was classified into stable (≤4%), mild (5-9%) and large progression (≥10%). In those with 2-year longitudinal %pFVC (cohort 2), the %pFVC change at each 12-month (s.d. 6) interval was calculated. Logistic regression analyses [odds ratio (OR) and 95% CI] and Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for age and %pFVC were applied. Results: A total of 1136 male and 5253 female SSc-ILD patients were identified. Males were significantly younger, had a shorter disease duration, had a higher prevalence of CRP elevation and frequently had diffuse cutaneous involvement. In cohort 1 (1655 females and 390 males), a higher percentage of males had stable ILD (74.4% vs 69.4%, P = 0.056). In multivariable analysis, disease duration and %pFVC [OR 0.99 (95% CI 0.98, 0.99) and OR 0.97 (95% CI 0.95, 0.99), respectively] in males and age, %pFVC and anti-centromere [OR 1.02 (95% CI 1.00, 1.04), OR 0.97 (95% CI 0.96, 0.98) and OR 0.39 (95% CI 0.245, 0.63), respectively] in females were associated with large progression. The 1-year mortality rate was higher in males (5.1% vs 2.5%, P = 0.013). In cohort 2 (849 females and 209 males), a higher percentage of females showed periods of large progression (11.7% vs 7.7%, P = 0.023), the percentage of patients with none, one or two periods of worsening was not different. The overall death rate was 30.9% for males and 20.4% in females (P < 0.001). In the survival analysis, male sex was a predictor of mortality [OR 1.95 (95% CI 1.66, 2.28)]. Conclusions: Male SSc-ILD patients have a poorer prognosis and sex-specific predictors exist in SSc-ILD.
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