, while predictors of moderate to severe disease include morphology, non-White race, and culture-confirmed infection.
Those are among the key findings from a retrospective analysis of pediatric psoriasis patients who were seen at the University of California, San Francisco, over a 24-year period.
“Overall, our data support prior findings of age- and sex-based differences in location and morphology and presents new information demonstrating associations with severity,” presenting study author Carmel Aghdasi said during the annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology. “We provide evidence of the increased use of systemic and biologic therapies over time, an important step in ensuring pediatric patients are adequately treated.”
To characterize the demographics, clinical features, comorbidities, and treatments, and to determine predictors of severity and changes in treatment patterns over 2 decades in a large cohort of pediatric psoriasis patients, Ms. Aghdasi, a 4th-year medical student at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues retrospectively evaluated the records of 754 pediatric patients up to 18 years of age who were seen at UCSF for psoriasis from 1997 to 2021. They collected demographic, clinical, familial, comorbidity, and treatment data and divided the cohort into two groups by date of last visit.
Group 1 consisted of 332 patients whose last visit was between 2001 and 2011, while the second group included 422 patients whose last visit was between 2012 and 2021. The researchers also divided the cohort into three age groups: infants (0-2 years of age), children (3-12 years of age), and adolescents (13-18 years of age).
Slightly more than half of the patients (55%) were female and 67% presented between ages 3 and 12. (Seventy-four patients were in the youngest category, 0-2 years, when they presented.) The average age of disease onset was 7 years, the average age at presentation to pediatric dermatology was 8.8 years, and 37% of the total cohort were overweight or obese. The top four comorbidities were being overweight or obese (37%), followed by atopic dermatitis (19%), psychiatric disease (7%), and arthritis (4%).
Plaque was the most common morphology (56%), while the most common sites of involvement were the head and neck (69%), extremities (61%), and trunk (44%). About half of the cohort (51%) had mild disease, 15% had culture-confirmed infections (9% had Streptococcal infections), and 66% of patients reported itch as a symptom.
The researchers observed that inverse psoriasis was significantly more common in infants and decreased with age. Anogenital involvement was more common in males and in those aged 0-2, while head and neck involvement was more common in females. Nail involvement was more common in childhood.
Topical therapy was the most common treatment overall and by far the most common among those in the 0-2 age category. “Overall, phototherapy was used in childhood and adolescents but almost never in infancy,” Ms. Aghdasi said. “Looking at changes in systemic treatment over time, conventional systemic use increased in infants and children and decreased in adolescents. Biologic use increased in all ages, most notably in children aged 3-12 years old.”
Multivariate regression analyses revealed that the following independent variables predicted moderate to severe psoriasis: adolescent age (adjusted odds ratio, 1.9; P = .03), guttate morphology (aOR, 2.2; P = .006), plaque and guttate morphology (aOR, 7.6; P less than .001), pustular or erythrodermic morphology (aOR, 5; P = .003), culture-confirmed infection (aOR, 2; P = .007), Black race (aOR, 3.3; P = .007), Asian race (aOR, 1.8; P = .04, and Hispanic race (aOR, 1.9; P = .03).
“Further analysis is needed to elucidate the influence of race on severity and of the clinical utility of infection as a marker of severity,” Ms. Aghdasi said. “Interestingly, we did not find that obesity was a marker of severity in our cohort.”
In an interview, senior study author, professor of dermatology and pediatrics at UCSF, noted that this finding conflicts with prior studies showing an association between obesity and severe psoriasis in children.
“Though methodologies and patient populations differ among studies, what is striking,” she said, is the percentage of overweight/obese patients (37%; defined as a body mass index ≥ 85th percentile) “in our 2-decade single institution dataset.” This “is nearly identical” to the percentage of patients with excess adiposity – 37.9% (also defined as BMI ≥ 85th percentile) – in an international cross-sectional, which also identified an association between obesity (BMI ≥ 95th percentile) and psoriasis severity in children, she noted.
“What is clear is the strong association between obesity and childhood psoriasis, as multiple studies, including ours, confirm obesity as a major comorbidity of pediatric psoriasis,” Dr. Cordoro said. “Both conditions must be adequately managed to reduce the risk of adverse health outcomes for obese patients with psoriasis.”
The other study coauthors were