The Treatment of Lung Involvement in Systemic Sclerosis

Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2021 Feb 13;14(2):154. doi: 10.3390/ph14020154.


Systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients are often affected by interstitial lung disease (ILD) and, although there have been recent treatment advances, it remains the leading cause of death among SSc, with a 10-year mortality up to 40%. African Americans and subjects with diffuse cutaneous SSc or anti-topoisomerase 1 antibodies are most commonly affected. Currently, early ILD diagnosis can be made, and it is pivotal to improve the prognosis. The diagnostic mainstay test for SSc-ILD is high-resolution computed tomography for the morphology and pulmonary function tests for the functional aspects. Treatment planning and intensity are guided by the disease severity and risk of progression. Traditionally, therapy has depended on combinations of immunosuppressants, particularly cyclophosphamide and mycophenolate mofetil, which can be supplemented by targeted biological and antifibrotic therapies. Benefits have been observed in trials on hematopoietic autologous stem cell transplantation for patients with progressive SSc, whilst lung transplantation is reserved for refractory SSc-ILD cases. Herein, recent advances in SSc-ILD treatment will be explored.

Keywords: high-resolution computed tomography; interstitial lung disease; pulmonary function tests; scleroderma; systemic sclerosis.

Publication types

  • Review