Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 37, Issue 8, pp 2021–2026 | Cite as

Molecular genetic analysis for periodic fever syndromes: a supplemental role for the diagnosis of adult-onset Still’s disease

  • Hongbin Li
  • Irina Abramova
  • Sandra Chesoni
  • Qingping YaoEmail author
Review Article


Adult-onset Still’s disease (AOSD) represents a systemic autoinflammatory disease (SAID), and its diagnostic criteria are clinical without genetic testing. Given shared manifestations between AOSD and hereditary SAIDs, molecular analysis may help differentiate these diseases. A PubMed literature search was conducted using key words “adult-onset Still’s disease,” “autoinflammatory disease,” and “genetic mutation” between 1970 and February 2018. Articles on genetic mutations in the genes MEFV, TNFRSF1A, mevalonate kinase, or NOD2 for hereditary SAIDs in AOSD/systemic onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA) patients were reviewed and analyzed. Five case series studies consisting of a total of 162 of both adult and pediatric patients were included. All patients fulfilled the Yamaguchi criteria for AOSD or the diagnostic criteria for SJIA. The results showed that 31.4% (51/162) of patients were identified to carry at least one genetic variant for periodic fever syndromes. In addition, four patients with the diagnosis of SJIA in other reports were confirmed to have FMF or TRAPS with molecular testing. These data together suggest that some patients who satisfy the clinical diagnostic criteria for AOSD/SOJIA could well be diagnosed with other SAIDs; genetic testing, particularly for those with atypical presentation can be supplementary to the accurate disease diagnosis by excluding other autoinflammatory diseases. AOSD is a diagnosis of exclusion and shares common manifestations with other SAIDs. The currently employed clinical criteria for AOSD can cause misdiagnosis. An updated set of classification criteria to integrate the molecular genetic analysis to exclude other autoinflammatory diseases is warranted.


Adult-onset Still’s disease Autoinflammatory disease Genetic testing Periodic fever syndrome Systemic onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis 


Compliance with ethical standards




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Copyright information

© International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hongbin Li
    • 1
  • Irina Abramova
    • 2
  • Sandra Chesoni
    • 3
  • Qingping Yao
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Rheumatology, First Affiliated HospitalInner Mongolia Medical UniversityHohhotPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and ImmunologyStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  3. 3.Department of MedicineStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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