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Eur J Cancer. 2007 Nov;43(16):2321-9. Epub 2007 Aug 17.

Maintenance therapy in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma: who, when, what?

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Department of Dermatology, University Hospital of Zurich, Gloriastrasse 31, CH-8091 Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


The aim of current therapy for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) is to induce clinically meaningful remission, provide symptom relief, improve patient quality of life (QoL) and prolong disease-free and overall survival. A key research question is whether such remissions or minimal disease status can be maintained in the long term. There have been few formal studies of maintenance therapy in CTCL. Some skin-directed therapies such as total-skin electron-beam therapy and high-dose psoralen plus ultraviolet A may not be considered suitable, because of the risk of long-term cumulative toxicities. Other therapies such as nitrogen mustard, interferon (IFN)-alpha and bexarotene have demonstrated positive effects in prolonging remissions in small numbers of patients. Large longitudinal studies are required to investigate the efficacy of maintenance treatments in CTCL and their impact on patients' QoL and overall survival. Of the systemic therapies currently approved for the treatment of CTCL, bexarotene and IFN-alpha are obvious candidates for testing, because they can be self-administered by the patient and provide good long-term tolerability.

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