Ten patients suffering from discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) or subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE) were treated with interferon alpha 2a. A marked improvement or clearing of cutaneous lupus erythematosus lesions was observed in eight of them. However, the response to interferon was of short duration and within a few weeks after interferon withdrawal all patients who were improved or cleared relapsed. This study suggests that interferon alpha 2a represents a new interesting approach in the treatment of DLE and SCLE. Ongoing trials will define the optimal treatment schedule for the maintenance of interferon-induced improvement of cutaneous lupus erythematosus.