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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004 Oct;51(4):660-2.

Aggressive cutaneous T-cell lymphomas after TNFalpha blockade.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Pharmacologic blockade of TNFalpha has been a highly effective approach to treating several immunologically mediated diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and psoriatic arthritis. 1,2,3 Both etanercept, the recombinant extracellular domain of the tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2), and infliximab, a humanized murine antibody, bind TNFalpha and block its interaction with cell surface receptors. Recently, it has become clear that blockade of TNFalpha action is profoundly immunosuppressive, and may result in reactivation of tuberculosis and histoplasmosis, as well as the emergence of B-cell lymphomas. 4,5,6 In this report, we describe two cases of cutaneous and systemic T-cell lymphoma that progressed rapidly in the setting of TNFalpha blockade. Both cases were characterized by rapid onset, a fulminant clinical course with extensive cutaneous and systemic involvement, and death within months of diagnosis.

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