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Leuk Lymphoma. 2003;44 Suppl 3:S55-61.

Overview of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma: prognostic factors and novel therapeutic approaches.

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Department of Hematology/Oncology, Tufts New England Medical Center, 750 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


The cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCL) comprise a heterogeneous group of entities. The WHO classification distinguishes indolent low-risk entities, including mycosis fungoides/S├ęzary syndrome (MF/SS), from aggressive entities, including peripheral T-cell lymphoma and its variants and HTLV-1 associated acute T-cell leukemia/lymphoma. Mycosis fungoides represents the most benign of the cutaneous T-cell lymphomas, with 10-year relative survival ranging from 100% to 41%, depending on the degree of skin involvement. Probability of progression to extracutaneous disease within 20 years of diagnosis can be up to 40%, depending on stage. Treatment strategies for early stage CTCL include topical therapies with or without interferon-alpha or oral agents, while advanced stage patients often progress and are treated with chemotherapy and novel agents. Multiagent cytotoxic regimens are palliative with no demonstrated survival benefit. Among the novel therapies for CTCL is bexarotene, a retinoid X-receptor (RXR)-selective agonist, which has demonstrated efficacy in advanced refractory CTCL. Other novel agents include the interleukin (IL)-2 fusion toxin (ONTAK), pentostatin (a potent adenosine deaminase inhibitor), histone deacetylase inhibitors such as depsipeptide, NF-kappaB inhibitors, cytokine receptor antagonists, immunomodulatory therapies and allogeneic stem cell therapy. The value of new therapeutic approaches to CTCL urgently needs to be assessed.

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