An anticentromere antibody (ACA) test is primarily ordered to help diagnose limited cutaneous scleroderma, a form of systemic scleroderma, and CREST syndrome. The test may be used to distinguish between this and other conditions with similar symptoms.
If a person is positive for ACA and has symptoms of CREST, then it is likely that the person has limited cutaneous scleroderma. ACA is found in about 60-80% of people who have limited cutaneous scleroderma and can be present in up to 95% of those who have CREST syndrome.
If a person is negative for ACA, then it is likely that their symptoms are due to another condition. However, it is possible, though rare, that the individual has limited cutaneous scleroderma and does not produce anticentromere antibodies.
Typically, only people who have CREST symptoms are tested for ACA. However, some people may be positive for ACA prior to the development of these symptoms and ACA may be performed in conjunction with testing for other autoimmune disorders.
The amount of ACA present does not, in general, correlate to the severity of a person's symptoms.
This article was last reviewed on March 27, 2012. | This article was last modified on January 27, 2014.
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