Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Radiotherapy, and the Risk of Acute and Chronic Toxicity: The Mayo Clinic Experience

Melva E. Pinn, Douglas G. Gold, Ivy A. Petersen, Thomas G. Osborn, Paul D. Brown, Robert C. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the acute and chronic toxic effects of radiotherapy in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods and Materials: Medical records of 21 consecutive patients with SLE, who had received 34 courses of external beam radiotherapy and one low-dose-rate prostate implant, were retrospectively reviewed. Patients with discoid lupus erythematosus were excluded. Results: Median survival was 2.3 years and median follow-up 5.6 years. Eight (42%) of 19 patients evaluable for acute toxicity during radiotherapy experienced acute toxicity of Grade 1 or greater, and 4 (21%) had acute toxicity of Grade 3 or greater. The 5- and 10-year incidence of chronic toxicity of Grade 1 or greater was 45% (95% confidence interval [CI], 22-72%) and 56% (95% CI, 28-81%), respectively. The 5- and 10-year incidence of chronic toxicity of Grade 3 or greater was 28% (95% CI, 18-60%) and 40% (95% CI, 16-72%), respectively. Univariate analysis showed that chronic toxicity of Grade 1 or greater correlated with SLE renal involvement (p < 0.006) and possibly with the presence of five or more American Rheumatism Association criteria (p < 0.053). Chronic toxicity of Grade 3 or greater correlated with an absence of photosensitivity (p < 0.02), absence of arthritis (p < 0.03), and presence of a malar rash (p < 0.04). Conclusions: The risk of acute and chronic toxicity in patients with SLE who received radiotherapy was moderate but was not prohibitive of the use of radiotherapy. Patients with more advanced SLE may be at increased risk for chronic toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-506
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008



  • Connective tissue diseases
  • Radiotherapy
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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