Phototherapy of mycosis fungoides


  • Franz Trautinger

    1. Karl Landsteiner Institute for Dermatological Research, St. Pölten, Austria
    2. Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Landesklinikum St. Pölten, Austria
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  • Conflicts of interest:
    None declared.

Franz Trautinger, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Landesklinikum St. Pölten, Propst-Fuehrer-Strasse, St Pölten A-3100, Austria
Tel: +43 2742 300 11909
Fax: +43 2742 300 11919


Background/purpose: Among the primary cutaneous T-cell lymphomas, mycosis fungoides (MF) is the most common disease entity. Recently, an improved understanding of the pathology, clinical presentation, and prognosis of MF has lead to the development of new and practically useful classification and staging systems. In most patients, MF presents with patches and plaques and remains confined to the skin for years and decades, making it an ideal target for phototherapy. However, treatment schedules vary widely and this review describes the current knowledge about phototherapy of MF focusing mainly on narrow- and broadband UVB and 8-methoxypsoralen plus UVA, its indications, practical aspects, and clinical outcome.

Methods: Review and summary of the pertinent literature.

Results and conclusions: Since 1976, when the first report on phototherapy for MF was published, sufficient evidence has accumulated to make narrowband UVB and PUVA safe and effective treatment options for early stages of the disease. In refractory cases or more advanced stages, combination of phototherapy with systemic treatments including mainly interferons and retinoids might be valuable. Additional research is required to further define the optimal treatment schedules and the role of maintenance.