Sarcoidosis heterogeneity influenced by ethnicity

People of Polynesian ancestry with sarcoidosis have less pulmonary and more extra-pulmonary manifestations, the first study of its kind reports.

The findings emphasise the need to be cognisant of the diagnosis of sarcoidosis in Maori and Pacific Islanders patients when the classical features of disease are absent, the study authors say in their paper published in Respirology.

The retrospective review of 406 patients attending an interstitial lung disease clinic in Auckland, New Zealand found patients of Polynesian ancestry were more likely to have skin or ocular disease and less likely to develop pulmonary fibrosis compared to patients of European ancestry.

The study authors said that while socio-economic factors might go some way to explaining the observed racial differences in the clinical phenotype of sarcoidosis the dominant cause is likely to be genetic.

“The data confirms the clinical observation that Maori and Pacific Islander patients with sarcoidosis are more likely to have extra-pulmonary disease and less likely to have severe pulmonary consequences, adding to our knowledge of the heterogeneity of the sarcoid phenotype between different ethnic groups,” the study authors concluded. 

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