Many patients with symptoms and signs compatible with a connective tissue disease have features consistent with more than one type of rheumatic disease. Special attention has been drawn to antinuclear antibody–positive patients who have overlapping features of SLE, scleroderma, and inflammatory myopathy together with autoantibodies to RNP. Some consider these patients to have a distinct entity (“mixed connective tissue disease”), and others view this as a subset of SLE characterized by a higher prevalence of Raynaud phenomenon, polyarthritis, myositis, and pulmonary hypertension and a lower incidence of renal involvement. Other patients have features of more than one connective tissue disease (eg, rheumatoid arthritis and SLE, SLE and scleroderma) in the absence of anti-RNP antibodies and are referred to as having an “overlap syndrome.” Treatments are guided more by the distribution and severity of patients’ organ system involvement than by therapies specific to these overlap syndromes.
et al. Progression and mortality of interstitial lung disease in mixed connective tissue disease: a long-term observational nationwide cohort study. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2018 Feb 1;57(2):255–62.