Successful ultraviolet A1 phototherapy in the treatment of localized scleroderma: a retrospective and prospective study

Br J Dermatol. 2010 Feb 1;162(2):445-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2009.09438.x. Epub 2009 Aug 8.


Background: Ultraviolet (UV) A1 phototherapy is an effective anti-inflammatory treatment modality that influences fibroblast functions.

Objectives: To document the effects of UVA1 treatment in patients with localized scleroderma (LS) in a retrospective study (at least 6 months after UVA1 treatment) and in a prospective study before and immediately after medium-dose UVA1 irradiation.

Methods: In total, 30 patients (retrospective study n = 17, prospective study n = 13) with LS receiving UVA1 phototherapy five times weekly (for 3-6 weeks) were investigated. Improvement was documented using standardized questionnaires and clinical evaluation (using modified Rodnan skin score, Cutometer and 7.5-MHz ultrasound measurements). Levels of collagen I and collagen III metabolites were measured in serum and urine.

Results: In the retrospective study, medium-dose UVA1 phototherapy had been performed 6 months-3 years earlier (cumulative dose 750-1400 J cm(-2); mean + or - SD number of irradiations 19.3 + or - 3.8). Fourteen of 17 patients (82%) reported an improvement in symptoms following UVA1 therapy. In the prospective study, skin elasticity increased in 77% of the patients following medium-dose UVA1 phototherapy (cumulative dose 750-1250 J cm(-2); mean + or - SD number of irradiations 20.8 + or - 4.0). 7.5-MHz ultrasound measurements showed a mean reduction of lesional skin thickness of 13% compared with skin thickness before UVA1 phototherapy. The ratio of deoxypyridinoline to creatinine was significantly elevated in about two-thirds of the patients.

Conclusions: This open study showed a positive short- and long-term efficacy of UVA1 phototherapy in patients with LS, with a reduction in sclerotic plaques, an increase in skin elasticity and a reduction of lesional skin thickness. UVA1 phototherapy had a significant effect on collagen metabolism. UVA1 phototherapy can be regarded as a safe treatment modality for patients with LS.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scleroderma, Localized / metabolism
  • Scleroderma, Localized / radiotherapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Ultraviolet Therapy / methods*


  • Collagen