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June 1993

Complete Remissions in Psoralen and UV-A (PUVA)-Refractory Mycosis Fungoides-Type Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma With Combined Interferon Alfa and PUVA

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, University of Michigan (Drs Mostow, Anderson, and Cooper and Mss Neckel and Oberhelman), and the Dermatology Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Drs Anderson and Cooper), Ann Arbor. Dr Mostow is currently with the Department of Dermatology, University of Pittsburgh (Pa).

Arch Dermatol. 1993;129(6):747-752. doi:10.1001/archderm.1993.01680270085011

• Background and Design.—  The optimal therapy for the mycosis fungoides type of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma has yet to be determined. Based on recent reports on the efficacy of high-dose interferon alfa in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, we chose to test the hypothesis that systemic adjunctive therapy with low-dose interferon alfa along with psoralen and long-wave UV-A radiation (PUVA) could decrease the amount of PUVA necessary to achieve the best response, as well as improve the therapeutic effect of PUVA. Five patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (mycosis fungoides type) were initially treated unsuccessfully with PUVA alone (three times a week for at least 3 months); PUVA was stopped, patients' diseases were restaged, then interferon alfa (3×106 U/d for 1 week, then 6×106 U/d for 1 week) was initiated 2 weeks prior to restarting PUVA. Responses to treatment were graded as complete remission (skin clear, or negative biopsy specimens of remaining dermatitic lesions), partial remission (>50% improvement), progression (>25% worsening), or no change (failure to qualify for other categories) at 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks.

Observations.—  After 3 to 5 months of treatment with PUVA thrice weekly, none of the patients treated with PUVA alone had achieved complete remission. By contrast, systemic adjunctive therapy with low-dose interferon alfa along with PUVA resulted in complete remissions in all five (100%) patients in an average of 3.2 months (in three patients, lesions were cleared by 3 months). An average of 107 additional joules (68% more) and 1.6 additional months of PUVA administered thrice weekly was required to achieve the best response attainable with PUVA alone compared with complete remissions achieved with combined interferon alfa and PUVA therapy.

Conclusion.—  These data indicate that patients with disease refractory to PUVA alone can achieve a complete remission if they restart treatment with PUVA in combination with well-tolerated low doses of interferon alfa. In addition, the duration of PUVA exposure can be reduced with the addition of low-dose interferon alfa to the conventional PUVA treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma of the mycosis fungoides type in such patients.(Arch Dermatol. 1993;129:747-752)

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