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Transfus Apher Sci. 2003 Feb;28(1):81-9.

Extracorporeal photochemoimmunotherapy in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

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Division of Special and Environmental Dermatology, Department of Dermatology, Vienna Medical School, University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, Vienna A 1090, Austria.


Extracorporeal photochemotherapy was originally conceived for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) and as well as other T-cell mediated diseases. Evidence collected in the past 17 years has demonstrated that this treatment modality can have a very significant effect on the course of a subset of CTCL patients. The evidence available is positive but for a variety of reasons has been controversial within the medical community. A number of very well-designed multi-center trials which have been lacking since the first publication by Edelson et al. are being carried out so that hopefully a number of open questions will be resolved with greater clarity in the coming years. The fact remains that this innovative approach for the treatment of CTCL and T-cell mediated diseases has certainly opened new avenues of therapy and thought in photoimmunology and photomedicine. Clearly the very low side effect profile of this therapy has made it more attractive than the chemotherapeutic and immunosuppressive substances that are presently available or in experimental protocols. If and when the mechanisms of action are fully understood and appropriate studies investigating different treatment schedules and different combination therapies and modifications of its present form are performed the place of photopheresis in the therapeutics of CTCL as well as other T-cell mediated diseases and oncology will be better placed.

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