No clear link between multiple sclerosis, vitiligo
There appears to be no significant link between multiple sclerosis (MS) and vitiligo, reports a recent meta-analysis.
Drawing from the databases of Medline and Embase, the researchers retrieved six case-control studies, corresponding to 12,930 study participants. Cases were patients with MS, and their odds of having vitiligo were compared against non-MS controls. The sample sizes of the included studies ranged from 101 to 5,296, and the mean ages of the participants ranged from 39.0 to 55.2 years.
One study found no case of vitiligo and was thus excluded from the quantitative analysis. Pooling the remaining five studies (12,829 MS patients and 31,231 controls), the researchers found a nominal increase of prevalent vitiligo in patients with MS, but this interaction failed to reach statistical significance (pooled odds ratio [OR], 1.33, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.80–2.22).
In terms of quality of the findings, visual inspection of the funnel plot suggested that there was no publication bias.
In addition, using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale, two studies were deemed to have a high risk of bias in terms of the representativeness of cases, while another also showed a high bias risk in terms of control selection. In addition, two studies were of high risk with respect to the comparability of controls and cases.
“To further explore the association, future national studies could provide more information about genetic and environmental influence on the association between MS and vitiligo,” the researchers said. “It is still worth being aware of the possibility of vitiligo in MS patients.”