A retrospective analysis of diagnostic testing in a large North American cohort of patients with epidermolysis bullosa

Gregory Scott Phillips, Amy Huang, Bret D. Augsburger, Laura Kaplan, Kathleen Peoples, Anna L. Bruckner, Phuong Khuu, Jean Y. Tang, Irene Lara-Corrales, Elena Pope, Karen Wiss, Laura E. Levin, Kimberly D. Morel, Kristen P. Hook, Amy S. Paller, Lawrence F. Eichenfield, Catherine C. McCuaig, Julie Powell, Leslie Castelo-Soccio, Moise L. LevyHarper N. Price, Lawrence A. Schachner, John C. Browning, Marla Jahnke, Tor Shwayder, Susan Bayliss, Anne W. Lucky, Sharon A. Glick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Accurate diagnosis of epidermolysis bullosa (EB) has significant implications for prognosis, management, and genetic counseling.

OBJECTIVE: To describe diagnostic testing patterns and assess diagnostic concordance of transmission electron microscopy (TEM), immunofluorescence mapping (IFM), and genetic analysis for EB.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort included patients enrolled in the Epidermolysis Bullosa Clinical Characterization and Outcomes Database from January 1, 2004, to July 8, 2019. Tests concluding the same EB type (EB simplex, junctional EB, dominant dystrophic EB, and recessive dystrophic EB) were considered concordant; those concluding different EB types were considered discordant; and those with nonspecific/nondefinitive results were equivocal.

RESULTS: A total of 970 diagnostic tests were conducted from 1984 to 2018 in 771 patients. Genetic analyses were performed chronologically later than IFM or TEM (P < .001). The likelihood of undergoing genetic analysis was greater for junctional EB and recessive dystrophic EB, and the same for dominant dystrophic EB as compared with EB simplex. TEM results in 163 patients were equivocal (55%), concordant (42%), and discordant (3%). IFM results in 185 patients were equivocal (54%), concordant (42%), and discordant (4%).

LIMITATIONS: Retrospective design.

CONCLUSIONS: Diagnostic testing has shifted in favor of genetic analysis. TEM and IFM frequently offer equivocal findings when compared to the specificity afforded by genetic analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1063-1071
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Academy of Dermatology, Inc.


  • diagnostic concordance
  • diagnostic testing
  • electron microscopy
  • epidermolysis bullosa
  • genetic analysis
  • genetics
  • immunofluorescence mapping
  • laboratory testing
  • next-generation sequencing
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • North America
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa Simplex/diagnosis
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa Dystrophica/diagnosis
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa, Junctional

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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