Red Blood Cell Distribution Width Is Increased in Patients with Pemphigus: A Case-Control Study

Rimma Laufer Britva, Mouhammad Kridin, Khalaf Kridin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Red blood cell distribution width (RDW) has recently emerged as an inflammatory marker in several inflammatory diseases but has not been investigated in patients with pemphigus. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to examine RDW percentage in patients with pemphigus relative to control subjects and to assess the association between this biomarker and the morphological characteristics of the disease. METHODS: This case-control study included 183 pemphigus patients and 915 age- and sex-matched control subjects. RDW, hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular volume (MCV) were measured for all study participants. RESULTS: The RDW was significantly higher in patients with pemphigus than in controls (13.7±1.3 vs. 13.4±1.1%, respectively; P=0.001). A significant association between RDW and pemphigus was demonstrated in multivariate analysis (odds ratio, 1.22; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.46; P=0.036). The RDW was higher in patients with pemphigus vulgaris (PV) than in pemphigus foliaceus (PF; P=0.043), and in those with mucocutaneous PV relative to those with mucosal only and cutaneous only PV. The RDW increased significantly following treatment (P<0.001). CONCLUSION: Pemphigus patients demonstrated elevated RDW as compared with healthy controls. RDW may be a feasible biomarker in patients with pemphigus. Although it clearly does not replace any of the accepted diagnostic immunopathological criteria, increased RDW may be more suggestive of PV than PF, and of mucocutaneous rather than cutaneous PV. The remarkable increase following treatment may be ascribed to the corticosteroid-induced erythropoiesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-259
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Laboratory Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the Association of Clinical Scientists, Inc.


  • Pemphigus
  • RDW
  • inflammation
  • red blood cell distribution width
  • surrogate


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