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Bexarotene therapy for mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome

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Summary Background 

Bexarotene (Targretin®) is a synthetic retinoid which is licensed for the treatment of advanced refractory cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). Objectives 

To summarize our experience with bexarotene for patients with CTCL with the aim of assessing efficacy and safety. Methods 

A retrospective study of 66 patients (44 male, 22 female) with mycosis fungoides (40 patients) or Sézary syndrome (26 patients) who were commenced on bexarotene prior to August 2007 was carried out. Nineteen patients had early-stage (IB–IIA) refractory mycosis fungoides and 47 patients had advanced-stage CTCL (IIB–IVB). Results 

Fifty-two out of 66 (79%) patients completed over 1 month of therapy with an intention-to-treat response rate of 44% (29/66). Of the patients, six (9%) had a complete response, 23 (35%) had a partial response, 15 (23%) had stable disease and eight (12%) had progressive disease. Median time to maximal response was 3 months (1–9 months). Median response duration was 8 months (1 to > 48 months). Median time to progression was 9 months (3–44 months). Fourteen patients (21%) did not complete a month of bexarotene therapy. Adverse effects of the whole group included central hypothyroidism in 100% (all grade II and managed with thyroid replacement) and hyperlipidaemia in 100% (all managed with lipid-lowering therapy ± dose reduction). Responses were seen in all stages and were higher in advanced stages: 26% (five of 19) with early-stage and 51% (24/47) of advanced-stage disease. Responses were seen in skin, blood and lymph nodes. Twenty-eight out of 66 patients were treated with bexarotene monotherapy and the remainder were on one or more additional anti-CTCL therapies. Conclusions 

Our data demonstrate that bexarotene is well tolerated in most patients and responses are seen in almost half of patients with all disease stages. However partial responses were not graded and would include any improvement seen in the skin, blood and lymph node.
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Keywords: Sézary syndrome; Targretin®; bexarotene; cutaneous T-cell lymphoma; mycosis fungoides

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2009

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