In the period 1994–2002, we saw 71 patients with sclerotic skin changes; 66 were diagnosed with systemic sclerosis (SSc) while five (7%) were diagnosed with pseudoscleroderma associated with various malignancies. The mean duration of disease in these five patients was significantly shorter than that of patients with SSc. The incidence of positive antinuclear antibodies, Raynaud's phenomenon or oesophageal involvement in patients with pseudoscleroderma was significantly lower than that in patients with SSc. The distributions of skin sclerosis varied in each case. Serum basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) levels in the five patients with pseudoscleroderma were very elevated compared with levels in controls. Elevated expression of bFGF was detected on fibroblasts of affected skin and in one lung-cancer tissue sample obtained by excision.