Background: Few studies have assessed the long-term outcome of patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) treated with extracorporeal photochemotherapy (ECP). Objective: Our objective was to assess the efficacy, safety, and survival of a cohort of patients with refractory T-cell lymphoma in various stages of cutaneous involvement who were treated with ECP. Methods: Twenty patients who had received at least 6 months of ECP between September 1988 and April 1991 were reevaluated and the data analyzed statistically to obtain outcome data through December 1995. Results: A complete response (disappearance of all lesions) was obtained in five patients (25%) and a partial response (disappearance of at least 50% of lesions) in five patients (25%). Of the 10 responders, seven (70%) were weaned from ECP. Two of seven patients had a relapse. Ten patients (50%) showed no response to ECP. No statistically significant differences between responders and nonresponders were found with respect to demographic, clinical, or laboratory variables. Seven patients died of causes directly related to CTCL and two patients died of unrelated causes. Median survival time for the entire cohort was 96 months (range, 16 to 152 months). An assessment of early response after 6 to 8 months of ECP had a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 90% for predicting long-term (>4 years) outcome. Adverse effects were minimal. Conclusion: ECP is a safe effective alternative therapy for CTCL that is refractory to other therapies; it can induce a long- term, disease-free remission in a minority of patients. Response in the first 6 to 8 months of treatment predicts long-term outcome.
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