ANA Test for Lupus: New study finds inconsistencies

Many "seasoned" lupus patients will remember that, way back when, having a positive ANA was often the first blood test that indicated that something was amiss. But since being diagnosed,  I've met some (though not many) lupus patients who never tested positive for ANA. This new study explores that notion, particularly those patient who once tested positive but no longer do. Take a look at the snippets below, and be sure to read the whole article:

A new study funded by the Lupus Research Alliance Lupus Industry Council shows that not all individuals who have been diagnosed with lupus remain positive for antinuclear antibodies (ANA) despite the long-held scientific belief to the contrary. Importantly, this study also reveals that whether a person with long-standing lupus tests ANA positive or negative can vary widely depending on the particular ANA test being used.
Using five different tests to detect antinuclear antibodies in blood serum samples from 103 people with confirmed lupus, study investigators found widely varying negative results ranging from 5% to 22%.
These findings have implications for identifying patients eligible for clinical trials as well as what treatment is recommended and raise important questions about the natural history of disease progression in individuals with established lupus.
Be sure to read the entire article!


Allie G said…
I have been negative ANA from the start. I really struggle with getting new insurance companies when I change insurers to cover my Benlysta, based on the fact that the drug trials used positive ANA as a trial pre requisite (so there's no scientific evidence that Benlysta actually works for people with negative ANA). However, I have been in remission since my first month of taking the drug. Would love to be connected with others you know who have always been negative ANA and see if they have any advice on fighting the good fight with insurance! I just started a new job with new insurance, so have a good feeling I will be fighting the fight soon.
Sara Gorman said…
Allie G - Thrilled to hear Benlysta is working for you! Thanks so much for sharing your comment. I'm hopeful that the research this article highlights will translate into new policies for insurance companies. Change is around the corner! Re: insurance battles - i just wrote about winning a fight with my insurance company on this blog. I feel your pain! I'm sure others may have specific advice, but i found persistence to be the key
Just don't back down. We're behind you all the way!! :)
Anne said…
Hi, Allie G. I was wondering if you could share with me how you were diagnosed with lupus without having the Ana. I tested positive years ago for a na it was only 1 180 speckled, but I have never had a positive A&A again since. After struggling for years I now have my primary care who strongly believe that I have Lupus I'm not really quite sure why but I will see a rheumatologist on April 30th 6 weeks from now. My primary care says that the markers for autoimmune illness are not reliable enough to rule out that I have an autoimmune illness just based on the Ana but from my experience most rheimayologidts do not support this theory. After being miserable for years I sure would love to have a diagnosis I have a malar rash and severe diffuse joint pain. I can't be sure about any of my CBC since I have been on Prednisone for over a month. My other question is have you heard of people testing positive for A&A while they are on prednisone? The last one my doctor did I was on 40 mg of prednisone a day he told me he didn't think that would affect it but I still believe it probably did it was negative. Thank you very much for your insights!

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