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Keywords:

  • cutaneous lymphoma;
  • mycosis fungoides;
  • photopheresis;
  • predictors of response;
  • Sézary syndrome

Background: Extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) has been utilized for more than 20 years to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), but a clinical response can take up to 9 months to manifest. This study was undertaken to determine whether clinical features, laboratory values, cytokine levels, or gene expression levels of tumor markers are useful to predict the subsequent response to ECP in CTCL patients with blood involvement.

Methods: Twenty-one patients with CTCL treated with ECP as monotherapy for at least 6 months were retrospectively identified. Laboratory and clinical data and blood obtained at baseline, 3, and 6 months of treatment were used for analysis.

Results: In pretreatment blood specimens, a lower percentage of Sézary cells and a higher absolute eosinophil count were associated with a favorable clinical response. Clinical evidence of an early response after 3 months of ECP did not reliably predict a favorable response at 6 months or beyond. Comparison of cytokines, gene transcripts, and other laboratory measures of disease did not correlate with the subsequent clinical response, although lactate dehydrogenase levels tended to decrease progressively in ECP-responsive cases and increase progressively in ECP-non-responsive cases. Additionally, serum levels of TNF-α significantly increased from baseline to 6 months of ECP, but was not found to correlate with the clinical response.

Conclusions: Although we found that increased eosinophils and decreased percentage of Sézary cells were associated with a favorable clinical response to ECP, we were not able to identify the predictors of ECP response within the first 3 months of treatment.