Jefferson University Hospitals

Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma

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If you are diagnosed with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), a type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the experienced team of Jefferson's Cutaneous Lymphoma Clinic provides a multidisciplinary approach to guide you through available treatment options that address all your medical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is the most common type of cutaneous lymphoma that typically presents with red, scaly patches or thickened plaques of skin. This condition can often be misdiagnosed or commonly mistaken for inflammatory, chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. Cutaneous B-cell lymphoma (CBCL) is a less common type.

Treatment Options for Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma

Bringing together the expertise of Jefferson dermatologists, pathologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and nurses, your medical team will give a thorough evaluation and devise a personalized treatment plan based on the nature of your cancer and its progression. Your team will help you weigh the benefits and risks of each treatment, so you can choose the option that is best for you, including:

  • Allogeneic transplant
  • Chemotherapy
  • Irradiation
  • Photopheresis
  • Phototherapy (narrow band UVB)
  • Radiotherapy
  • Skin-directed therapies
  • Targeted immunologic therapies
  • Total skin electron beam therapy

Advanced Cases of Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma

In advanced cases, physicians may perform bone marrow stem cell transplantation to replace cells damaged by chemotherapy with healthy ones. Specialists within Jefferson's transplant program are pioneering efforts to reduce complications of transplant procedures, such as a potentially fatal reaction called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in which the donor marrow attacks its new host.

The standard method for preventing GVHD, which involves delivering chemotherapy drugs prior to transplantation, can weaken the immune system, which may cause infections and even secondary cancers. Through this novel procedure developed at Jefferson, chemotherapy drugs are administered after the introduction of T cells but before stem cells are given. As a result, GVHD-causing cells are killed, while sparing cells that restore the immune system. In clinical trials, this approach is bringing individuals lacking well-matched donors quicker, broader access to transplants with better results.