Radiotherapy for unilesional mycosis fungoides

Bizhan Micaily, Curtis Miyamoto, Gary Kantor, Stuart Lessin, Alain Rook, Luther Brady, Robert Goodman, Eric C. Vonderheid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the treatment outcome and natural history of patients with the diagnosis of unilesional mycosis fungoides, treated according to a prospective radiotherapy protocol in our institution since July 1975. Methods and Materials: A total of 325 patients with the diagnosis of mycosis fungoides have been referred to the Department of Radiation Oncology at Allegheny University of Health Sciences from July 1975 through September 1996. Of these, 18 patients (5%) were classified as having unilesional mycosis fungoides and were irradiated with a curative intent using local electron fields. One patient received 22 Gy; 1 patient received 40 Gy, and the rest of the patients 30.6 Gy. Daily fractions ranged from 1.8 to 2.0 Gy. Treatments prior to radiation consisted of topical steroids and/or antifungal creams in the majority of patients, with temporary partial responses. One patient had received 2 years of topical mechlorethamine (HN2) and another patient had received topical carmustine solution (BCNU) without response prior to irradiation. Results: The responses were measured clinically; posttreatment skin biopsy was not performed routinely unless there was clinical evidence of disease persistence. Complete response rate was 100%; all treated lesions cleared completely within 4 to 8 weeks after the completion of radiation. With a median follow-up of 43 months (range 12 to 240 months), 2 relapses have occurred, 2 and 71 months after the completion of radiation. Both relapses were confined to the skin and were remote from the original site. Both relapses responded to topical application of HN2. There have been no recurrences in their irradiated field nor systemic dissemination. No long-term side effects were found related to treatment, and all the patients are currently alive and without evidence of disease. Actuarial relapse-free and overall survival at 10 years are, respectively, 86.2% and 100%. Conclusion: Unilesional mycosis fungoides has a long natural history, is possibly the earliest manifestation of a malignant process, and local treatments, including local radiotherapy, result in long-term disease- free intervals and, possibly, cure. Total skin electron beam radiotherapy is not indicated for this disease entity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-364
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Local electron beam irradiation
  • Unilesional mycosis fungoides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


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