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Leuk Lymphoma. 2004 Sep;45(9):1755-65.

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma: a paradigm for biological therapies.

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Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Mycosis Fungoides and Sézary Syndrome are the most common types of cutaneous T-cell lymphomas. There is no current standard of care for Mycosis Fungoides/Sézary Syndrome, with a general tendency to rely on topical interventions for early disease delaying systemic, more toxic therapy until the development of extensive symptoms. Knowledge of the biological characteristics of this disease has allowed for the development of rational interventions and a significant advance in its treatment. Retinoids are active in Mycosis Fungoides/Sézary Syndrome with the newer rexinoids being available in topical and systemic forms. Interferon alpha remains one of the most active therapeutic agents for Mycosis Fungoides/Sézary Syndrome, especially in combination with other agents such as PUVA. The monoclonal antibody alemtuzumab leads to responses in at least half of patients with advanced disease with its side effect profile consisting mainly of immunosupression and infusion reactions. The recombinant IL2-diphteria toxin denileukin diftitox (Ontak) is active in this disease and appears to have a beneficial effect in symptoms relief and quality of life. Extracorporeal photochemotherapy as an immunostimulating intervention seems to be very effective in a subset of patients, but its availability is limited to less than a hundred centers worldwide. Experimental and less studied interventions include autologous and allogeneic peripheral stem cell transplantation, Interleukin-12, the histone-deacetylator depsipeptide and the synthetic deoxynucleotide CpG7909. Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma has served as a paradigm for the development of biological agents. Further knowledge of the signaling pathways in Mycosis Fungoides/Sézary Syndrome will allow for the development of more effective treatment strategies.

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