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New research continues to provide important insights into the utility of antibody specificities. This review provides an update of recent findings, and the important insights they provide into disease mechanism.A growing number of autoantibodies have been discovered in scleroderma patients with unique clinical associations. A subgroup of these antibodies may have functional consequences and contribute to disease pathogenesis, driving the vascular and fibrotic phenotype. Recent research into the relationship between malignancy and scleroderma onset provides important new insights into disease mechanism, and highlights the utility of autoantibodies as unique research probes.Continued advances in the study of scleroderma antibody specificities has led to important insights into disease pathogenesis and clinical subgrouping. These advances include newly described specificities, functional antibodies and an emerging understanding of the cancer–scleroderma relationship.