UA Cancer Center Researchers Advocate new Approach To Treat Rare Tissue Disorder

TUCSON, Ariz. – Researchers at the University of Arizona Cancer Center are advocating a new treatment approach for a rare connective tissue disorder called “Scleredema of Buschke.”

Scleredema of Buschke causes decreased range of motion, decreased sensation, pain and poor physical appearance, mostly around the shoulder and neck areas.

In a recent case study published in the journal Advances in Radiation OncologyTijana Skrepnik, MD, Silvija Gottesman, MD, and Baldassarre Stea, MD, PhD, demonstrated radiation therapy (RT) as a simpler way to manage this rare condition, focusing on one treatment option rather than a multitude of approaches. According to the paper, “RT is convenient, brief, noninvasive and well-tolerated.” 

Radiation Therapy is a high-energy beam of X-rays focused on a specific area to destroy abnormal cells, with every effort made to preserve normal tissue.

“The reason why this approach can prove more successful than established methods of treating Scleredema of Buschke is because it has very few (if any) systemic side effects, it requires a very small investment of time (15 minutes/day for 10 days) and it is not invasive, thus painless,” noted Dr. Stea, head of the Department of Radiation Oncology and a member of the UA Cancer Center.

This progressive condition typically is treated with an array of heterogeneous systemic options, including extracorporeal photopheresis, prednisolone, thyroid hormones, pituitary extract, physiotherapy, hyaluronidase, frequency modulated electromagnetic neural stimulation, and high-dose penicillin. Varied results have rendered these multimodal treatment options uncertain; therefore, a single method for standard of care has not been established.

Overall implications for this new approach suggest that low energy X-rays or electron beams have a high therapeutic ratio in relieving the limiting symptoms of this disorder and in improving the quality of life of the patients afflicted by it.

Advances in Radiation Oncology is a new journal published by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

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About the University of Arizona Cancer Center

The University of Arizona Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center headquartered in Arizona. The UACC is supported by NCI Cancer Center Support Grant No.  CA023074. With primary locations at the University of Arizona in Tucson and at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, the UA Cancer Center has more than a dozen research and education offices in Phoenix and throughout the state and 300 physician and scientist members work together to prevent and cure cancer. For more information, go to

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