Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) is uncommon in childhood. Less than 2% of patients with DLE develop the disease before 10 years of age.
We present eight cases of childhood DLE with onset before age 10 years: four black boys with cutaneous DLE, three black girls ages 7,2, and 6 years at onset, who developed systemic lupus erythematosus at ages 12,9, and 8 years, respectively, and a 10-year-old Hispanic boy who had a systemic flare at the age of 20 years.
A review of the 16 published cases of childhood DLE reveals that it is similar to its adult counterpart in its presentation and chronic course. However, several important differences are noted: a lack of female predominance, a low incidence of photosensitivity, and frequent progression to systemic lupus erythematosus at an early age. A discussion of the management of DLE in children is also presented.(Arch Dermatol. 1993;129:613-617)