Broad-band UVA, long-wave UVA1 and PUVA treatment have been described as an alternative/adjunct therapeutic option in a number of inflammatory and malignant skin diseases. Nevertheless, controlled studies investigating the efficacy of UVA irradiation in connective tissue diseases and related disorders are rare.
Searching the PubMed database the current article systematically reviews established and innovative therapeutic approaches of broad-band UVA irradiation, UVA1 phototherapy and PUVA photochemotherapy in a variety of different connective tissue disorders.
Potential pathways include immunomodulation of inflammation, induction of collagenases and initiation of apoptosis. Even though holding the risk of carcinogenesis, photoaging or UV-induced exacerbation, UVA phototherapy seems to exhibit a tolerable risk/benefit ratio at least in systemic sclerosis, localized scleroderma, extragenital lichen sclerosus et atrophicus, sclerodermoid graft-versus-host disease, lupus erythematosus and a number of sclerotic rarities.
Based on the data retrieved from the literature, therapeutic UVA exposure seems to be effective in connective tissue diseases and related disorders. However, more controlled investigations are needed in order to establish a clear-cut catalogue of indications.