Extracorporeal photochemotherapy for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus. A pilot study

Arthritis Rheum. 1992 Mar;35(3):319-24. doi: 10.1002/art.1780350311.


Objective: To investigate the effectiveness and feasibility of extracorporeal photochemotherapy (ECP) in the treatment of an autoimmune disease with known cutaneous photosensitivity.

Methods: Ten patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were treated with ECP in an open clinical trial. The efficacy of treatment was analyzed by means of established disease activity scores.

Results: Eight patients completed the trial. In 7 of the 8, there was a significant response to the treatment, with no or minor side effects. The clinical activity score in the group of 8 patients decreased from a median of 7 (range 4-9) to a median of 1 (range 0-5) (P less than 0.05). Laboratory abnormalities did not change significantly, but were mild at the outset.

Conclusion: ECP led to clinical improvement of SLE without side effects. The effectiveness of this method should be investigated further in controlled clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / etiology
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Leukapheresis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Methoxsalen / adverse effects
  • Methoxsalen / analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / chemically induced
  • Photochemotherapy / adverse effects
  • Photochemotherapy / methods*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Skin / pathology
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Methoxsalen