Psoriasis increased the measures of coronary artery calcium at a level similar to that seen in type 2 diabetes mellitus, independent of cardiovascular disease risk factors, based on data from a trio of cross-sectional studies including 387 adults. .

“Psoriasis and type 2 diabetes share similar cardiovascular risk profiles, which may predispose patients to developing coronary atherosclerosis at a relatively young age,” wrote Bobbak Mansouri, MD, of Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and his associates (JAMA Dermatol. 2016. [doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.2907]).

The researchers compared coronary artery calcium (CAC) levels in patients with psoriasis, patients with type 2 diabetes, and healthy controls. CAC has become an accepted measure of atherosclerosis and “the cornerstone for screening the risk of future cardiac events and improving cardiovascular risk stratification beyond traditional risk factors, especially in higher-risk groups,” according to the investigators. The average age of the patients was 52 years, 50% were female, and at least 92% were white.

The researchers used a hierarchical Tobit regression analysis to determine the association between disease and CAC level, as measured by the Agatston score. After controlling for confounding variables, including cardiovascular risk factors (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting blood glucose, systolic blood pressure, and tobacco use), the association with CAC was similar in psoriasis patients and type 2 diabetes patients (Tobit regression ratio [TRR], 0.89 and 0.79, respectively).

In a logistic multivariate regression analysis, patients with either psoriasis or type 2 diabetes were approximately twice as likely to have evidence of CAC as were healthy controls (odds ratio, 2.35 and 2.18, respectively), and psoriasis remained independently associated with the presence of CAC.

“When we added use of systemic or biological therapy to the models, the TRR and OR increased; however, these analyses were exploratory,” wrote Dr. Mansouri and his associates.

The study was limited by factors including the cross-sectional design and lack of diversity in the patient population, the investigators noted. However, the results suggest that “CAC assessment may be considered in patients with psoriasis who have two or more traditional cardiovascular risk factors given the high prevalence of CAC observed in this study,” they said.

Dr. Mansouri disclosed serving on an advisory board and receiving an honorarium from Celgene, maker of the psoriasis drug apremilast (Otezl). Study coauthors disclosed financial relationships with multiple pharmaceutical companies.


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