Photopheresis in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma: Five-year experience

Giovanni Crovetti, A. Carabelli, E. Berti, M. Guizzardi, S. Fossati, C. De Filippo, E. Bertani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) includes several lymphoproliferative disorders involving mature T-lymphocyte proliferation initially confined to the cutis. These affections, after variable periods, may progress to the blood, limph nodes and visceral organs. Mycosis fungoides (MF) is the most frequent form of CTCL and has an indolent clinical course. The therapy of CTCL depends on the stage of the disease and the patient's general conditions. For advanced cases it includes chemotherapy, retinoids, and interferon-α. Since 1987 extracorporeal photochemotherapy (ECP), a novel immunomodulatory approach based on apheresis and photo-irradiation of leukocytes, has been successfully introduced for the treatment of advanced CTCL. It can prolong survival of patients with erythrodermic CTCL without significant side effects. Objective: To review our five-year experience with ECP in CTCL. Methods: Since June 1994, 33 CTCL patients have been recruited for ECP, using two different regimens: two procedures on two consecutive days at four-week intervals for six months, or at two-week intervals for three months with progressive tapering in the second three-month period for the more severe forms. Six patients received ECP with IFN-α. ECP was done using the photopheresis UVAR system and UVAR XTS (Therakos, West Chester, Pa) and always with 8-MOP liquid formulation injected directly into the buffy coat bag. Lymphocytes in peripheral blood were immunophenotypically characterized for each patient and every ECP session. Results: All patients tolerated ECP well, without significant side effects. Thirty patients are clinically evaluable (at least three ECP cycles). A favourable clinical response was obtained in 80.9% (16/21) of MF patients (complete response 33%, partial response 47.6%) and in 66% (6/9) of patients in the Sezary's syndrome phase (complete response 33.3%, partial response 33.3%). Five of the six patients given IFN-α as adjunctive therapy had a PR and one a CR. Four patients are in CR without therapy at follow-ups of 46, 20, 10 and 8 months. There have been no changes in the peripheral lymphocyte immunophenotype during the follow-up. In 19/30 patients the CD95 antigen, correlated with cellular apoptosis, was expressed and was frequently associated with a good clinical response. Conclusions: In our experience ECP achieved favourable clinical responses in 73% of patients, in monotherapy or in combination with IFN-α, without significant side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Artificial Organs
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000


  • CD95 (Apo I/Fas)
  • Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
  • IFN-α
  • Photopheresis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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