We measured the interleukin-34 (IL-34) level in sera from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Blood tests, including assays to determine C-reactive protein (CRP), complement (C) 3, C4, immunoglobulin (Ig) A, IgG, IgM, anti-double-stranded DNA antibody (Anti-dsDNA Ab) and hemoglobin (Hb) levels and white blood cell (WBC) and platelet (PLT) counts, were performed using standard methods. Lupus nephritis (LN) was diagnosed according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) renal criteria. The SLE disease activity was scored using the SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI). Among the 110 SLE cases, IL-34 could be detected in 79 cases (71.8%). IL-34 was barely detected in the control group. The serum level of IL-34 was significantly higher in the SLE group. No change was observed in the serum IL-34 concentration in the SLE patients regardless of LN status. Correlations were observed between the serum IL-34 level and the disease activity parameters. The SLE patients with detectable IL-34 levels had higher SLEDAI and IgG concentrations and lower C3 and Hb levels than patients with undetectable IL-34 levels. Therefore, IL-34 could be a potential disease activity marker for SLE.