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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 81  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 124--135

Phototherapy for mycosis fungoides

Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sunil Dogra
Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh - 160 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0378-6323.152169

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Background: Both phototherapy and photochemotherapy have been used in all stages of mycosis fungoides since they improve the symptoms and have a favourable adverse effect profile. Materials and Methods: We performed an extensive search of published literature using keywords like "phototherapy", "photochemotherapy", "NBUVB", "PUVA", "UVA1", "mycosis fungoides", and "Sezary syndrome", and included systematic reviews, meta-analysis, national guidelines, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), prospective open label studies, and retrospective case series. These were then arranged according to their levels of evidence. Results: Five hundred and forty three studies were evaluated, of which 107 fulfilled the criteria for inclusion in the guidelines. Conclusions and Recommendations: Photochemotherapy in the form of psoralens with ultraviolet A (PUVA) is a safe, effective, and well tolerated first line therapy for the management of early stage mycosis fungoides (MF), that is, stage IA, IB, and IIA (Level of evidence 1+, Grade of recommendation B). The evidence for phototherapy in the form of narrow-band UVB (NB-UVB) is less robust (Level of evidence 2++, Grade of recommendation B) but may be considered at least as effective as PUVA in the treatment of early-stage MF as an initial therapy. In patients with patches and thin plaques, NB-UVB should be preferentially used. PUVA may be reserved for patients with thick plaques and those who relapse after initial NB-UVB therapy. For inducing remission, three treatment sessions per week of PUVA phototherapy or three sessions per week of NB-UVB phototherapy may be advised till the patient achieves complete remission. In cases of relapse, patients may be started again on PUVA monotherapy or PUVA may be combined with adjuvants like methotrexate and interferon (Level of evidence 2+, Grade of recommendation B). Patients with early-stage MF show good response to combination treatments like PUVA with methotrexate, bexarotene or interferon-α-2b. However, whether these combinations hold a significant advantage over monotherapy is inconclusive. For late stage MF, the above-mentioned combination therapy may be used as first-line treatment (Level of evidence 3, Grade of recommendation C). Currently, there is no consensus regarding maintenance therapy with phototherapy once remission is achieved. Maintenance therapy should not be employed for PUVA routinely and may be reserved for patients who experience an early relapse after an initial course of phototherapy (Level of evidence 2+, Grade of recommendation B). Bath-water PUVA may be tried as an alternative to oral PUVA in case the latter cannot be administered as the former may show similar efficacy (Level of evidence 2-, Grade of recommendation C). In pediatric MF and in hypopigmented MF, both NB-UVB and PUVA may be tried (Level of evidence 3, Grade of recommendation D).


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Online since 15th March '04
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