The Role of Phototherapy in Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma

July 2010 | Volume 9 | Issue 7 | Original Article | 764 | Copyright © July 2010

Salma Z. Pothiawala MD MPH, Brooke T. Baldwin MD, Basil S. Cherpelis MD, Mary H. Lien MD, Neil Alan Fenske MD

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma characterized by the malignant proliferation of T lymphocytes in the skin. Phototherapy has been proven an effective treatment modality for CTCL, in particular early stage disease (patch and plaque). Specifically, broadband ultraviolet B (BB-UVB), psoralen and ultraviolet A (PUVA),and more recently narrowband UVB (NB-UVB) are the skin-directed phototherapies typically utilized. Phototherapy poses the risk of sunburn, photoaging and photocarcinogenesis. Combination therapies with IFN-α, retinoids (acitretin and isotretinoin) and rexinoid (bexarotene) are adjunctive systemic therapies that facilitate enhanced therapeutic response and often allow for lower doses of phototherapy. Extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) has also been shown to be effective in more advanced stage disease.