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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2019 Oct 20. doi: 10.1111/jdv.16021. [Epub ahead of print]

Clinical severity measures and quality of life burden in patients with mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome: comparison of generic and dermatology-specific instruments.

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Washington University School of Medicine, Division of Dermatology.
Washington University School of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology.



Given the severe symptom burden and chronic nature of mycosis fungoides (MF) and Sézary syndrome (SS), effective assessment of quality of life (QoL) is essential to guiding patient-centered care in this population. In this study, we aim to provide a comprehensive assessment of QoL in early- and advanced-stage MF/SS and to assess the correlation of traditional measures of clinical severity with QoL measures.


Between July 2017 and April 2019, outpatients at an academic medical center with either MF/SS (n=115) or general dermatology concerns (n=115) completed generic and dermatology-specific QoL instruments (Health Utilities Index Mark 3 [HUI3], RAND 36-Item Short Form Health Survey [SF-36], Skindex-29, Visual Analog Scale for itch [VAS itch], and 5-D pruritus scale). The mean scores of MF/SS patients were compared to that of controls using multivariable regression models adjusted for demographics and medical comorbidities. Cluster analysis of the QoL instruments and clinical severity measures (e.g., stage and body-surface-area involvement) was performed.


Patients with MF/SS scored significantly worse than controls on all QoL instruments used, with advanced-stage (IIB-IVB) disease having the worst QoL impairment. Early-stage (IA-IIA) and advanced-stage MF/SS patients had significantly reduced overall health status (HUI3; p<0.05), with largest decrements in social functioning and usual role functioning due to physical and emotional health (SF-36; all p<0.05). MF/SS had significantly worse skin-specific impairment than controls, with advanced-stage disease reporting the most severe skin-specific burden (Skindex-29, p<0.05). Clinical severity measures had a weak correlation with generic (|rs |= 0.02 - 0.27) and moderate correlation with dermatology-specific instruments (|rs |= 0.41 - 0.53).


MF/SS have a significant impact on multiple domains of patients' QoL, including social, emotional, and physical functioning. Current clinical measures do not adequately address QoL outcomes, underscoring the need for integrating formal disease-specific QoL assessment into the routine evaluation of MF/SS patients.


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