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Dermatology. 1998;196(3):305-8.

Extracorporeal photopheresis of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is associated with reduction of peripheral CD4+ T lymphocytes.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University Medical Center Benjamin Franklin, Free University of Berlin, Germany. zoubbere@zedat.fu-berlin.de



Extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) has been successfully introduced for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma; however, the mechanism(s) of its action is (are) unknown.


To investigate the effects of ECP on the immune system of patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.


Clinical response and changes of lymphocyte subpopulations in 20 patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma under ECP monotherapy or combined regimens were evaluated and compared after 3, 6 and 12 ECP cycles.


Thirteen of 20 patients showed a > or = 50% reduction of skin lesions after 6-12 ECP cycles. An overall T-lymphocyte reduction was assessed with a balanced CD4+ T-helper and CD8+ T-suppressor cell decrease in responders. In contrast, there was a trend of CD4+ T-helper cell increase in nonresponders which could result from the failure of treatment to control the natural course of the disease. The CD4+/CD8+ ratios were 1.6 at baseline and 1.4 after 12 cycles in responders, while they increased from 1.7 to 4.1 in nonresponders, respectively (p = 0.47). In addition, there was an overall decrease in the CD57+/CD8+ T-cell subpopulation mostly due to a reduction in the responder group.


The marked differences detected in certain T-cell subpopulations suggest an effect of ECP on peripheral T lymphocytes and, especially, on CD4+ cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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