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Tumid lupus erythematosus

Alisa N Femia, MD
Section Editor
Jeffrey Callen, MD, FACP, FAAD
Deputy Editor
Abena O Ofori, MD


Tumid lupus erythematosus (TLE), also known as lupus erythematosus tumidus, is a highly photosensitive form of cutaneous lupus erythematosus (cutaneous LE) that classically presents with erythematous, edematous plaques (picture 1A-C). Traditionally, TLE has been classified as a subset of chronic cutaneous LE. However, the classification of TLE is controversial.

TLE is generally a skin-limited disorder that responds well to photoprotection plus topical treatment or oral antimalarial therapy. Unlike other subtypes of cutaneous LE, associated systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is rare.

The clinical features, diagnosis, and management of TLE will be reviewed here. Other manifestations of cutaneous LE are reviewed separately. (See "Overview of cutaneous lupus erythematosus".)


TLE is an uncommon disorder. The exact prevalence and incidence are unknown.

Unlike systemic lupus erythematosus, which exhibits a strong female predominance, TLE affects women and men nearly equally [1,2]. Some studies have found a slight male predominance [1]. The age-of-onset for TLE varies widely but is often around 30 to 40 years of age [1,3]. TLE in infancy and childhood is rare [4,5]. Most reports of TLE involve Caucasians; however, the distribution of TLE amongst different racial and ethnic populations is not known.

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 13, 2016.
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