Mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome are the most common of the cutaneous T-cell lymphomas, which are a heterogeneous group of neoplasms that affect the skin as a primary site. Although the aetiologies of mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome are unknown, important insights have been gained in the immunological and genetic perturbations that are associated with these diseases. Unlike some B-cell lymphomas, cutaneous T-cell lymphomas as a group are rarely if ever curable and hence need chronic-disease management. New approaches to treatments are being investigated and include biological and cytotoxic drugs, phototherapy, and monoclonal antibodies that are directed towards novel molecular targets. New molecular technologies such as complementary-DNA microarray have the potential to increase the accuracy of diagnosis and provide important prognostic information. Treatments can be combined to greatly improve clinical outcome without substantially increasing toxic effects in advanced disease that is otherwise difficult to treat. Although present treatment strategies are generally not curative, there is hope that experimental treatments, particularly immunotherapy, might eventually reverse or suppress the abnormalities of mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome to the point at which they become non-life-threatening, chronic diseases.
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