Systemic sclerosis-associated interstitial lung disease

Lancet Respir Med. 2020 Mar;8(3):304-320. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(19)30480-1. Epub 2020 Feb 27.


Systemic sclerosis is an autoimmune connective tissue disease, which is characterised by immune dysregulation and progressive fibrosis that typically affects the skin, with variable internal organ involvement. It is a rare condition that affects mostly young and middle-aged women, resulting in disproportionate morbidity and mortality. Currently, interstitial lung disease is the most common cause of death among patients with systemic sclerosis, with a prevalence of up to 30% and a 10-year mortality of up to 40%. Interstitial lung disease is more common among African Americans and in people with the diffuse cutaneous form of systemic sclerosis or anti-topoisomerase 1 antibodies. Systemic sclerosis-associated interstitial lung disease most commonly presents with dyspnoea, cough, and a non-specific interstitial pneumonia pattern on CT scan, with a minority of cases fulfilling the criteria for usual interstitial pneumonia. The standard therapy has traditionally been combinations of immunosuppressants, particularly mycophenolate mofetil or cyclophosphamide. These immunosuppressants can be supplemented by targeted biological and antifibrotic therapies, whereas autologous haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation and lung transplantation are reserved for refractory cases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / etiology*
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / pathology
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / therapy
  • Male
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / complications*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / diagnosis
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / pathology
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / therapy