Between January 1976 and December 1992, 17 patients on follow-up at Systemic Erythematosus (SLE) Clinic in the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur had onset of the disease after the age of 50 years. This constituted about 4% of our total SLE patients. They formed a distinct subgroup of the lupus population with an insidious onset and have a benign course compared to the younger SLE patients. Arthritis and skin rashes were the commonest initial manifestations. Renal and central nervous system manifestations were uncommon but pulmonary involvement was frequent compared to young SLE patients. The prevalence of positive autoantibodies and hypocomplementaemia were lower. Disease activity showed no correlation with erythrocyte sendimentation rate, autoantibodies or complement levels. Overall prognosis in these late-onset patients was favourable with a good response to steroids and less frequent relapses.