The use of interferon-α2a as a second-line treatment for stage IB patients with mycosis fungoides

By Samar Mahmoud, MS
Published February 4, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • This study found that stage IB patients with mycosis fungoides (MF) receiving interferon-α2a (IFN-α2a) achieved complete remission in a short period of time. 

  • Investigators reported acceptable side effects, suggesting that IFN-α2a is a good option as a second-line therapy for stage IB MF patients. 

  • Randomized clinical trials in different stages of MF disease are needed.

Mycosis fungoides (MF) is a form of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma that is characterized by proliferation of T-lymphocytes and infiltration into the skin. Patients presenting with only patches and plaques on the skin are defined as stage I, with further classification into stage 1A and 1B depending on the degree of involvement of the skin.

Why This Study Matters

While IFN-α has been used as a treatment for MF since 1980, data on the utility of IFN-α in patients with persistent disease after previous treatments is lacking. To address this need, this study sought to determine the effect of IFN-α2a as a monotherapy for stage IB MF patients who have recurrent disease and have received prior treatments.

Study Design

Investigators conducted a retrospective chart review of patient outcomes and included 25 patients with recurrent or persistent MF in the study. Patients received IFN-α2a as a monotherapy which was administered at a dose of 3x106  three times a week subcutaneously. The dose was increased every month to 6-9x106 according to clinical tolerance. Treatment outcomes were classified as: complete remission (disappearance of all clinical evidence), partial remission (≥50% decrease in extent or severity), stable disease (unresponsiveness to treatment), progressive disease (progression of MF). 

Results and Conclusions

The average age of study participants was 51.3 ± 9.1. Complete remission and partial remission was achieved in 44% and 48% of patients, respectively. Complete remission was achieved at 16.1 ± 9.8 weeks with a mean duration of 33.3 ± 7.9 months. Side effects were reported in 36% of patients, with the most common side effect being fatigue. Patients received 11 different types of treatment prior to IFN-α2a treatment, with the most frequent therapy being narrow-band ultraviolet-B phototherapy. 

Related Research

Consider these findings from similar research studies:

  • Acitretin, either alone or in combination, was effective long-term in treating mycosis fungoides (Source). 

  • IFN-α-2a is an effective and safe treatment for focally recalcitrant mycosis fungoides (Source).

Original Source 

Gökşin Ş, İmren IG, Cenk H, Kaçar N, Duygulu Ş. The use of interferon‐α2a as monotherapy in stage ib patients with mycosis fungoides: a retrospective chart review of patient outcomes. Dermatologic Therapy. Published online January 29, 2022.

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