Lynn D. Wilson, MD, MPH | Authors

Diagnosis and Management of Mycosis Fungoides

May 15, 2010

Mycosis fungoides (MF), the most common cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, is a low-grade cutaneous lymphoma characterized by skin-homing CD4+ T cells. It is notable for highly symptomatic progressive skin lesions, including patches, plaques, tumors, and erytheroderma, and has a poorer prognosis at later stages. Diagnosis remains difficult owing to MF’s nonspecific skin presentation and identification of the optimal treatment strategy is challenging given the paucity of controlled trials and numerous and emerging treatment options. Management includes topical therapy with the addition of systemic therapy for patients with later-stage disease including tumors; erythroderma; and nodal, visceral, or blood involvement. Topical therapies include mechlorethamine (nitrogen mustard), carmustine (BCNU), steroids, bexarotene gel (Targretin Gel), psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and either localized or total skin electron radiotherapy. Systemic therapies include interferon, retinoids, oral bexarotene (Targretin), denileukin diftitox (Ontak), vorinostat (Zolinza), extracorporeal photochemotherapy (photopheresis), and cytotoxic chemotherapy. Herein, we outline clinically relevant aspects of MF, including clinical presentation, pathology, diagnosis, and staging. We describe in detail existing and emerging therapeutics and offer specific recommendations for management of each stage of MF.

Postoperative Radiation Therapy for Lung Cancer

March 01, 2008

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States. Local recurrence after surgery for operable disease has long been recognized as a hindrance to long-term survival. Postoperative radiation therapy was logically explored as a means to improve local control and survival. Multiple randomized trials were conducted, many showing improved local control, but none demonstrated a statistically significant survival benefit.

Pulmonary Carcinoid Tumors: The Need for Tailored Assessment

November 01, 2006

Primary neuroendocrine neoplasms of the lung represent a clinical spectrum of tumors ranging from the relatively benign and slow-growing typical carcinoid to the highly aggressive small-cell lung carcinoma. The rarity of carcinoids has made the role of radiation therapy in their management controversial. This review considers the results of published studies to generate treatment recommendations and identify areas for future research. Surgery remains the standard of care for medically operable disease. Histology plays the most important role in determining the role of adjuvant radiation. Resected typical carcinoids likely do not require adjuvant therapy irrespective of nodal status. Resected atypical carcinoids and large-cell neuroendocrine carcinomas have a significant risk of local failure, for which adjuvant radiation likely improves local control. Definitive radiation is warranted in unresectable disease. Palliative radiation for symptomatic lesions has demonstrated efficacy for all histologies. Collaborative group trials are warranted.

Evaluation and Definitive Management of Medically Inoperable Early-Stage Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: Part 2

July 01, 2006

Lung cancer is estimated to be the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women in 2006, and the leading cause of cancer mortality. Non-small-cell lung cancer represents the majority of such cases. Most of these patients have locally advanced disease at presentation and are not eligible for curative resection. For the minority of patients who are technically resectable at presentation, lobectomy or pneumonectomy and pathologic mediastinal nodal staging offer the best overall survival. The high rate of comorbid medical illness and poor baseline pulmonary function in this population, however, make many such early-stage patients medically inoperable. For these patients, conventional single-modality radiotherapy has been the primary definitive treatment option, as discussed in part 1 of this article, which appeared in last month's issue. Numerous retrospective reports demonstrate long-term disease-free and overall survival data that are modestly superior to that expected after observation, but both local and distant failure continue to be significant risks. Investigation of radiotherapy dose escalation is ongoing, in an effort to improve local control while maintaining minimal toxicity. Additionally, emerging evidence suggests that new modalities, such as stereotactic radiosurgery and radiofrequency ablation, may also be potentially curative treatment alternatives. These modalities are addressed in part 2.

Nutritional Support of Patients Undergoing Radiation Therapy for Head and Neck Cancer

March 01, 2005

Malnutrition plays a key role in the morbidity of head and neckcancer patients receiving surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or combined-modality therapy. In addition to weight lost prior to the diagnosisof head and neck cancer, the patient may lose an additional 10% ofpretherapy body weight during radiotherapy or combined-modality treatment.A reduction of greater than 20% of total body weight results inan increase in toxicity and mortality. Severe toxicity can result in prolongedtreatment time, which has been implicated in poor clinical outcome.Early intervention with nutritional supplementation can reducethe chance of inferior outcome in patients at high risk of weight loss.The preferred route of nutritional support for these patients is enteralnutrition. Two commonly used methods for enteral feedings arenasoenteric and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy. It is importantto take into account the ethical considerations involved in providinglong-term nutritional support, particularly for patients with terminalconditions. Nutritional directives are best evaluated throughmultidisciplinary efforts, including input from the patient as well asmembers of the nursing, nutritionist, and medical staff.

Management of Mycosis Fungoides: Part 2. Treatment

October 01, 2003

Mycosis fungoides is a low-grade lymphoproliferative disorder ofskin-homing CD4+ lymphocytes that may produce patches, plaques,tumors, erythroderma, and, ultimately, systemic dissemination. Treatmentselection is generally guided by institutional experience, patientpreference, and toxicity profile, as data from phase III clinical trials arelimited. Effective topical treatments currently include mechlorethamine(Mustargen), carmustine (BCNU, BiCNU), corticosteroids, bexarotene(Targretin, a novel rexinoid), psoralen plus ultraviolet A, ultraviolet B,and total-skin electron-beam radiotherapy. Effective systemic treatmentsinclude interferon, retinoids, bexarotene, denileukin diftitox(Ontak), extracorporeal photopheresis, chemotherapy, and high-dosechemotherapy with allogeneic bone marrow transplant. Each of thesetreatments is discussed in detail, followed by specific recommendationsfor each stage of mycosis fungoides.