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Mycosis Fungoides and the Sézary Syndrome Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http://cancer.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

Mycosis Fungoides and the Sézary Syndrome Treatment

General Information About Mycosis Fungoides and the Sézary Syndrome

Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are diseases in which lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) become malignant (cancerous) and affect the skin.

Normally, the bone marrow makes blood stem cells (immature cells) that become mature blood stem cells over time. A blood stem cell may become a myeloid stem cell or a lymphoid stem cell. A myeloid stem cell becomes a red blood cell, white blood cell, or platelet. A lymphoid stem cell becomes a lymphoblast and then one of three types of lymphocytes (white blood cells):

  • B-cell lymphocytes that make antibodies to help fight infection.
  • T-cell lymphocytes that help B-lymphocytes make the antibodies that help fight infection.
  • Natural killer cells that attack cancer cells and viruses.

Blood cell development; drawing shows the steps a blood stem cell goes through to become a red blood cell, platelet, or white blood cell. A myeloid stem cell becomes a red blood cell, a platelet, or a myeloblast, which then becomes a granulocyte (the types of granulocytes are eosinophils, basophils, and neutrophils). A lymphoid stem cell becomes a lymphoblast and then becomes a B-lymphocyte, T-lymphocyte, or natural killer cell.
Blood cell development. A blood stem cell goes through several steps to become a red blood cell, platelet, or white blood cell.

In mycosis fungoides, T-cell lymphocytes become cancerous and affect the skin. In the Sézary syndrome, cancerous T-cell lymphocytes affect the skin and are in the blood.

Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are types of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are the two most common types of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma). For information about other types of skin cancer or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, see the following PDQ summaries:

  • Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment
  • Skin Cancer Treatment
  • Melanoma Treatment
  • Kaposi Sarcoma Treatment

A possible sign of mycosis fungoides is a red rash on the skin.

Mycosis fungoides may go through the following phases:

  • Premycotic phase: A scaly, red rash in areas of the body that usually are not exposed to the sun. This rash does not cause symptoms and may last for months or years. It is hard to diagnose the rash as mycosis fungoides during this phase.
  • Patch phase: Thin, reddened, eczema -like rash.
  • Plaque phase: Small raised bumps (papules) or hardened lesions on the skin, which may be reddened.
  • Tumor phase: Tumors form on the skin. These tumors may develop ulcers and the skin may get infected.

Check with your doctor if you have any of these signs.

In the Sézary syndrome, cancerous T-cells are found in the blood.

Also, skin all over the body is reddened, itchy, peeling, and painful. There may also be patches, plaques, or tumors on the skin. It is not known if the Sézary syndrome is an advanced form of mycosis fungoides or a separate disease.

Tests that examine the skin and blood are used to detect (find) and diagnose mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome.

The following tests and procedures may be used:

  • Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps, the number and type of skin lesions, or anything else that seems unusual. Pictures of the skin and a history of the patient's health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
  • Complete blood count with differential: A procedure in which a sample of blood is drawn and checked for the following:
    • The number of red blood cells and platelets.
    • The number and type of white blood cells.
    • The amount of hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen) in the red blood cells.
    • The portion of the blood sample made up of red blood cells.

    Complete blood count (CBC); left panel shows blood being drawn from a vein on the inside of the elbow using a tube attached to a syringe; right panel shows a laboratory test tube with blood cells separated into layers: plasma, white blood cells, platelets, and red blood cells.
    Complete blood count (CBC). Blood is collected by inserting a needle into a vein and allowing the blood to flow into a tube. The blood sample is sent to the laboratory and the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are counted. The CBC is used to test for, diagnose, and monitor many different conditions.
  • Peripheral blood smear: A procedure in which a sample of blood is viewed under a microscope to count different circulating blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, etc.) and see whether the cells look normal.
  • Skin biopsy: The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of cancer. The doctor may remove a growth from the skin, which will be examined by a pathologist. More than one skin biopsy may be needed to diagnose mycosis fungoides.
  • Immunophenotyping: A process used to identify cells, based on the types of antigens or markers on the surface of the cell. This process may include special staining of the blood cells. It is used to diagnose specific types of leukemia and lymphoma by comparing the cancer cells to normal cells of the immune system.
  • T-cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangement test: A laboratory test in which cells in a sample of tissue are checked to see if there is a certain change in the genes. This gene change can lead to too many of one kind of T-cells (white blood cells that fight infection) to be made.
  • Flow cytometry: A laboratory test that measures the number of cells in a sample of blood, the percentage of live cells in a sample, and certain characteristics of cells, such as size, shape, and the presence of tumor markers on the cell surface. The cells are stained with a light-sensitive dye, placed in a fluid, and passed in a stream before a laser or other type of light. The measurements are based on how the light-sensitive dye reacts to the light.

Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:

  • The stage of the cancer.
  • The type of lesion (patches, plaques, or tumors).

Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are hard to cure. Treatment is usually palliative, to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life. Patients with early stage disease may live many years.

Stages of Mycosis Fungoides and the Sézary Syndrome

After mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome have been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread from the skin to other parts of the body.

The process used to find out if cancer has spread from the skin to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment.

The following procedures may be used in the staging process:

  • Chest x-ray: An x-ray of the organs and bones inside the chest. An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.
  • CT scan (CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, such as the lymph nodes, chest, abdomen, and pelvis, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
  • PET scan (positron emission tomography scan): A procedure to find malignant tumor cells in the body. A small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein. The PET scanner rotates around the body and makes a picture of where glucose is being used in the body. Malignant tumor cells show up brighter in the picture because they are more active and take up more glucose than normal cells do.
  • Lymph node biopsy: The removal of all or part of a lymph node. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells.
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: The removal of bone marrow and a small piece of bone by inserting a hollow needle into the hipbone or breastbone. A pathologist views the bone marrow and bone under a microscope to look for signs of cancer.

There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

Cancer can spread through tissue, the lymph system, and the blood:

  • Tissue. The cancer spreads from where it began by growing into nearby areas.
  • Lymph system. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the lymph system. The cancer travels through the lymph vessels to other parts of the body.
  • Blood. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the blood. The cancer travels through the blood vessels to other parts of the body.

Cancer may spread from where it began to other parts of the body.

When cancer spreads to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. Cancer cells break away from where they began (the primary tumor) and travel through the lymph system or blood.

  • Lymph system. The cancer gets into the lymph system, travels through the lymph vessels, and forms a tumor (metastatic tumor) in another part of the body.
  • Blood. The cancer gets into the blood, travels through the blood vessels, and forms a tumor (metastatic tumor) in another part of the body.

The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if mycosis fungoides spreads to the liver, the cancer cells in the liver are actually mycosis fungoides cells. The disease is metastatic mycosis fungoides, not liver cancer.

The following stages are used for mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome:

Stage I Mycosis Fungoides

Stage I is divided into stage IA and stage IB as follows:

  • Stage IA: Less than 10% of the skin surface is covered with patches, papules, and/or plaques.
  • Stage IB: Ten percent or more of the skin surface is covered with patches, papules, and/or plaques.

There may be abnormal lymphocytes in the blood but they are not cancerous.

Stage II Mycosis Fungoides

Stage II is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB as follows:

  • Stage IIA: Any amount of the skin surface is covered with patches, papules, and/or plaques. Lymph nodes are enlarged but cancer has not spread to them.
  • Stage IIB: One or more tumors that are 1 centimeter or larger are found on the skin. Lymph nodes may be enlarged but cancer has not spread to them.

There may be abnormal lymphocytes in the blood but they are not cancerous.

Stage III Mycosis Fungoides

In stage III, nearly all of the skin is reddened and may have patches, papules, plaques, or tumors. Lymph nodes may be enlarged but cancer has not spread to them.

There may be abnormal lymphocytes in the blood but they are not cancerous.

Stage IV Mycosis Fungoides

Stage IV is divided into stage IVA and stage IVB as follows:

  • Stage IVA: Most of the skin is reddened and any amount of the skin surface is covered with patches, papules, plaques, or tumors, and either:
    • cancer has spread to lymph nodes and there may be cancerous lymphocytes in the blood; or
    • there are cancerous lymphocytes in the blood and lymph nodes may be enlarged, but cancer has not spread to them.
  • Stage IVB: Most of the skin is reddened and any amount of the skin surface is covered with patches, papules, plaques, or tumors. Cancer has spread to other organs in the body. Lymph nodes may be enlarged and cancer may have spread to them. There may be cancerous lymphocytes in the blood.

Stage IV Sézary Syndrome

In stage IV:

  • Most of the skin is reddened and covered with patches, papules, plaques, or tumors; and
  • There is a high level of cancerous lymphocytes in the blood; and
  • Lymph nodes may be enlarged and cancer may have spread to them.

Recurrent Mycosis Fungoides and the Sézary Syndrome

Recurrent mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are cancers that have recurred (come back) after they have been treated. The cancer may come back in the skin or in other parts of the body.

Treatment Option Overview

There are different types of treatment for patients with mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome cancer.

Different types of treatment are available for patients with mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome. Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.

Six types of standard treatment are used:

Photodynamic therapy

Photodynamic therapy is a cancer treatment that uses a drug and a certain type of laser light to kill cancer cells. A drug that is not active until it is exposed to light is injected into a vein. The drug collects more in cancer cells than in normal cells. For skin cancer, laser light is shined onto the skin and the drug becomes active and kills the cancer cells. Photodynamic therapy causes little damage to healthy tissue. Patients undergoing photodynamic therapy will need to limit the amount of time spent in sunlight.

In one type of photodynamic therapy, called psoralen and ultraviolet A (PUVA) therapy, the patient receives a drug called psoralen and then ultraviolet radiation is directed to the skin. In another type of photodynamic therapy, called extracorporeal photochemotherapy, the patient is given drugs and then some blood cells are taken from the body, put under a special ultraviolet A light, and put back into the body.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer.

Sometimes, total skin electron beam (TSEB) radiation therapy is used to treat mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome. This is a type of radiation treatment in which the skin over the whole body is treated with rays of tiny particles called electrons.

The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). Sometimes the chemotherapy is topical (put on the skin in a cream, lotion, or ointment). The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

See Drugs Approved for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma for more information. (Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.)

Other drug therapy

Topical corticosteroids are used to relieve red, swollen, and inflamed skin. They are a type of steroid. Topical corticosteroids may be in a cream, lotion, or ointment.

Retinoids, such as bexarotene, are drugs related to vitamin A that can slow the growth of certain types of cancer cells. The retinoids may be taken by mouth or put on the skin.

See Drugs Approved for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma for more information. (Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.)

Biologic therapy

Biologic therapy is a treatment that uses the patient's immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy.

Interferon is a type of biologic therapy used to treat mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome. It interferes with the division of cancer cells and can slow tumor growth.

See Drugs Approved for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma for more information. (Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.)

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is a treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. Monoclonal antibody therapy and other types of targeted therapies are used to treat mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome.

Alemtuzumab and denileukin diftitox are monoclonal antibodies used to treat mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome. Monoclonal antibody therapy uses antibodies made in the laboratory, from a single type of immune system cell. These antibodies can identify substances on cancer cells or normal substances that may help cancer cells grow. The antibodies attach to the substances and kill the cancer cells, block their growth, or keep them from spreading. Monoclonal antibodies are given by infusion. They may be used alone or to carry drugs, toxins, or radioactive material directly to cancer cells.

Vorinostat and romidepsin are two of the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors used to treat mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome. HDAC inhibitors cause a chemical change that stops tumor cells from dividing.

Pralatrexate is a dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) inhibitor used to treat mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome. It builds up in cancer cells and stops them from using folate, a nutrient needed for cells to divide. Pralatrexate may slow the growth of tumors and kill cancer cells.

See Drugs Approved for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma for more information. (Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.)

New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials.

This summary section describes treatments that are being studied in clinical trials. It may not mention every new treatment being studied. Information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Ultraviolet B radiation therapy

Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation therapy uses a special lamp or laser that directs UVB radiation at the skin.

High-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy with stem cell transplant

This treatment is a method of giving high doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy and replacing blood-forming cells destroyed by the cancer treatment. Stem cells (immature blood cells) are removed from the bone marrow or blood of the patient or a donor and are frozen and stored. After therapy is completed, the stored stem cells are thawed and given back to the patient through an infusion. These reinfused stem cells grow into (and restore) the body's blood cells.

Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial.

For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice. Clinical trials are part of the cancer research process. Clinical trials are done to find out if new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard treatment.

Many of today's standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. Patients who take part in a clinical trial may receive the standard treatment or be among the first to receive a new treatment.

Patients who take part in clinical trials also help improve the way cancer will be treated in the future. Even when clinical trials do not lead to effective new treatments, they often answer important questions and help move research forward.

Patients can enter clinical trials before, during, or after starting their cancer treatment.

Some clinical trials only include patients who have not yet received treatment. Other trials test treatments for patients whose cancer has not gotten better. There are also clinical trials that test new ways to stop cancer from recurring (coming back) or reduce the side effects of cancer treatment.

Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. See the Treatment Options section that follows for links to current treatment clinical trials. These have been retrieved from NCI's listing of clinical trials.

Follow-up tests may be needed.

Some of the tests that were done to diagnose the cancer or to find out the stage of the cancer may be repeated. Some tests will be repeated in order to see how well the treatment is working. Decisions about whether to continue, change, or stop treatment may be based on the results of these tests. This is sometimes called re-staging.

Some of the tests will continue to be done from time to time after treatment has ended. The results of these tests can show if your condition has changed or if the cancer has recurred (come back). These tests are sometimes called follow-up tests or check-ups.

Treatment Options by Stage

Stage I Mycosis Fungoides

Treatment of stage I mycosis fungoides may include the following:

  • PUVA therapy with or without biologic therapy (interferon).
  • Radiation therapy to a single skin lesion or to all the skin on the body (TSEB).
  • Topical corticosteroid therapy.
  • Radiation therapy to skin lesions, as palliative therapy to reduce tumor size or relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
  • Topical chemotherapy.
  • Biologic therapy (interferon) with or without topical chemotherapy.
  • Retinoid therapy.
  • Systemic chemotherapy.
  • Targeted therapy with vorinostat, romidepsin, or other histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors.
  • Targeted therapy with pralatrexate.
  • Targeted therapy with a monoclonal antibody (denileukin diftitox).
  • A clinical trial of ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of a new treatment.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage I mycosis fungoides/Sezary syndrome. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage II Mycosis Fungoides

Treatment of stage II mycosis fungoides is palliative (to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life) and may include the following:

  • PUVA therapy with or without biologic therapy (interferon).
  • Radiation therapy to all the skin on the body (TSEB).
  • Topical corticosteroid therapy.
  • Topical chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy to skin lesions.
  • Biologic therapy (interferon) with or without topical chemotherapy.
  • Retinoid therapy.
  • Oral chemotherapy.
  • Systemic chemotherapy.
  • Targeted therapy with vorinostat, romidepsin, or other histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors.
  • Targeted therapy with pralatrexate.
  • Targeted therapy with a monoclonal antibody (denileukin diftitox).
  • A clinical trial of ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of a new treatment.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage II mycosis fungoides/Sezary syndrome. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage III Mycosis Fungoides

Treatment of stage III mycosis fungoides is palliative (to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life) and may include the following:

  • PUVA therapy with or without systemic chemotherapy.
  • PUVA therapy with or without biologic therapy (interferon).
  • Radiation therapy to all the skin on the body (TSEB).
  • Topical corticosteroid therapy.
  • Radiation therapy to skin lesions.
  • Systemic chemotherapy with one or more drugs, with or without topical chemotherapy.
  • Biologic therapy (interferon) with or without topical chemotherapy.
  • Extracorporeal photochemotherapy.
  • Topical chemotherapy.
  • Retinoid therapy.
  • Oral chemotherapy.
  • Targeted therapy with vorinostat, romidepsin, or other histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors.
  • Targeted therapy with pralatrexate.
  • Targeted therapy with a monoclonal antibody (alemtuzumab or denileukin diftitox).
  • A clinical trial of ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of a new treatment.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage III mycosis fungoides/Sezary syndrome. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage IV Mycosis Fungoides and the Sézary Syndrome

Treatment of stage IV mycosis fungoides and stage IV Sézary syndrome is palliative (to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life) and may include the following:

  • PUVA therapy with or without systemic chemotherapy.
  • PUVA therapy with or without biologic therapy (interferon).
  • Radiation therapy to all the skin on the body (TSEB), with or without systemic chemotherapy.
  • Topical corticosteroid therapy.
  • Radiation therapy to skin lesions.
  • Systemic chemotherapy with one or more drugs.
  • Biologic therapy (interferon) with or without topical chemotherapy.
  • Targeted therapy with a monoclonal antibody (alemtuzumab or denileukin diftitox).
  • Topical chemotherapy.
  • Extracorporeal photochemotherapy with or without radiation therapy to all the skin on the body.
  • Retinoid therapy.
  • Oral chemotherapy.
  • Targeted therapy with vorinostat, romidepsin, or other histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors.
  • Targeted therapy with pralatrexate.
  • A clinical trial of ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of a new treatment.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage IV mycosis fungoides/Sezary syndrome. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Treatment Options for Recurrent Mycosis Fungoides and the Sézary Syndrome

Treatment of recurrent mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome is usually within a clinical trial and may include the following:

  • Radiation therapy to skin lesions or all the skin on the body (TSEB).
  • Topical chemotherapy.
  • PUVA therapy, to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life.
  • PUVA therapy with biologic therapy (interferon).
  • Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation therapy.
  • Topical corticosteroid therapy, to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life.
  • Extracorporeal photochemotherapy.
  • Targeted therapy with a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody.
  • Targeted therapy with a monoclonal antibody (alemtuzumab or denileukin diftitox).
  • Retinoid therapy.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant.
  • Targeted therapy with vorinostat, romidepsin, or other histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors.
  • Targeted therapy with pralatrexate.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent mycosis fungoides/Sezary syndrome. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

To Learn More About Mycosis Fungoides and the Sézary Syndrome

For more information from the National Cancer Institute about mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome, see the following:

  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Home Page
  • Photodynamic Therapy for Cancer
  • Drugs Approved for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Biological Therapies for Cancer
  • Targeted Cancer Therapies

For general cancer information and other resources from the National Cancer Institute, see the following:

  • Cancer Staging
  • Chemotherapy and You: Support for People With Cancer
  • Radiation Therapy and You: Support for People With Cancer
  • Coping with Cancer: Supportive and Palliative Care
  • Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Cancer
  • Cancer Library
  • Information For Survivors/Caregivers/Advocates

Changes to This Summary (04 / 23 / 2014)

The PDQ cancer information summaries are reviewed regularly and updated as new information becomes available. This section describes the latest changes made to this summary as of the date above.

Changes were made to this summary to match those made to the health professional version.

About This PDQ Summary

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Purpose of This Summary

This PDQ cancer information summary has current information about the treatment of mycosis fungoides and the Sézary Syndrome. It is meant to inform and help patients, families, and caregivers. It does not give formal guidelines or recommendations for making decisions about health care.

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Clinical Trial Information

A clinical trial is a study to answer a scientific question, such as whether one treatment is better than another. Trials are based on past studies and what has been learned in the laboratory. Each trial answers certain scientific questions in order to find new and better ways to help cancer patients. During treatment clinical trials, information is collected about the effects of a new treatment and how well it works. If a clinical trial shows that a new treatment is better than one currently being used, the new treatment may become "standard." Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.

Clinical trials are listed in PDQ and can be found online at NCI's Web site. Many cancer doctors who take part in clinical trials are also listed in PDQ. For more information, call the Cancer Information Service 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

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For more information, U.S. residents may call the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time. A trained Cancer Information Specialist is available to answer your questions.

Chat online

The NCI's LiveHelp® online chat service provides Internet users with the ability to chat online with an Information Specialist. The service is available from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. Information Specialists can help Internet users find information on NCI Web sites and answer questions about cancer.

Write to us

For more information from the NCI, please write to this address:

NCI Public Inquiries Office
9609 Medical Center Dr.
Room 2E532 MSC 9760
Bethesda, MD 20892-9760

Search the NCI Web site

The NCI Web site provides online access to information on cancer, clinical trials, and other Web sites and organizations that offer support and resources for cancer patients and their families. For a quick search, use the search box in the upper right corner of each Web page. The results for a wide range of search terms will include a list of "Best Bets," editorially chosen Web pages that are most closely related to the search term entered.

There are also many other places to get materials and information about cancer treatment and services. Hospitals in your area may have information about local and regional agencies that have information on finances, getting to and from treatment, receiving care at home, and dealing with problems related to cancer treatment.

Find Publications

The NCI has booklets and other materials for patients, health professionals, and the public. These publications discuss types of cancer, methods of cancer treatment, coping with cancer, and clinical trials. Some publications provide information on tests for cancer, cancer causes and prevention, cancer statistics, and NCI research activities. NCI materials on these and other topics may be ordered online or printed directly from the NCI Publications Locator. These materials can also be ordered by telephone from the Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

Last Revised: 2014-04-23


If you want to know more about cancer and how it is treated, or if you wish to know about clinical trials for your type of cancer, you can call the NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-422-6237, toll free. A trained information specialist can talk with you and answer your questions.


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