Inflammatory arthritis-associated pyoderma gangrenosum: a systematic review

Erika Sawka, Allison Zhou, Emile Latour, Marcia Friedman, Alex G. Ortega-Loayza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction/Objectives: Pyoderma gangrenosum (PG) is a rare, rapidly progressive neutrophilic dermatosis commonly associated with systemic inflammatory diseases. We aimed to characterize the association of PG and inflammatory arthritis, as little is known outside of case reports and small cohort studies. Method: We performed a systematic review in PubMed, EMBASE, and Scopus from inception to present using the terms arthritis and pyoderma gangrenosum. Patient demographics, clinical presentation, and treatment outcomes were recorded. Descriptive statistics and stratified analysis were used to compare factors of interest by type of arthritis. Results: A total of 1399 articles were screened, and 129 patients with inflammatory arthritis and PG were included in the review. The most common types of arthritis were rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (50.4%), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)–associated arthritis (10.9%), and psoriatic arthritis (8.5%). In the vast majority of cases, joint symptoms preceded PG, by a median of 10 years (inter-quartile range [IQR] 5–16). Corticosteroid monotherapy and biologic therapies, used alone or in combination, resulted in improvement or complete resolution of ulcers 71.4% and 67.3% of the time, respectively. Within the latter, infliximab, adalimumab, and anakinra were most successful in inducing remission overall. RA and non-RA did not differ significantly in treatment success or healing time. Conclusions: This study shows that PG is frequently preceded by inflammatory arthritis, most commonly RA. Clinicians used a wide variety of treatment regimens with variable outcomes. While larger studies are needed to standardize the treatment of inflammatory arthritis-associated PG, this study suggests that in addition to systemic corticosteroids, biologic medications can be effective treatment options for these patients.Key Points.• Inflammatory arthritis, most commonly rheumatoid arthritis, often precedes rather than follows pyoderma gangrenosum.• Other forms of arthritis associated with PG included IBD-associated arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.• Biologic therapies, such as infliximab, adalimumab, and anakinra, were largely successful in treating arthritis-associated pyoderma gangrenosum and may play an important role in corticosteroid-sparing therapy or in a maintenance regimen for this subset of patients.• The type of inflammatory arthritis associated with pyoderma gangrenosum may not be a helpful treatment guide as it was not significantly associated with treatment outcomes or healing time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3963-3969
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Rheumatology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Arthritis
  • Biological therapy
  • Literature review
  • Pyoderma gangrenosum
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Steroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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