Cutaneous Cell Lymphoma - Symptoms & Treatment
Cutaneous cell lymphoma is an indolent (low grade) T-cell lymphoma that usually starts in or on the skin. Cutaneous cell lymphoma is frequently referred to as mycosis fungoides. In this chronic disorder, malignant T cells migrate to, and multiply in, the skin. The skin is the second most common extranodal site for lymphoma; gastrointestinal sites are first. Cutaneous cell lymphoma is a rare condition with no known cause. There are only about 4 cases diagnosed for every million people in the population. It is twice as common in men and slightly more common in black people. It is a cancer of the T-lymphocytes and most often occurs in people aged between 40 and 60. The malignant T cells in the body are pushed to the surface of the skin in a biological process used to rid the body of offending material, causing various lesions to appear on the skin. There are many different types of primary cutaneous lymphomas but they can be broadly divided into two categories, cutaneous T-cell lymphomas and cutaneous B-cell lymphomas.
There are various forms of cutaneous cell lymphoma. Unlike other forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, CTCL mainly affects the skin. There are no clearly defined risk factors for developing this disease and there is no identifiable hereditary tendency. It can only be definitely diagnosed by taking a sample of the affected skin (a biopsy) and examining it under a microscope for cancerous T cells. They eventually spread to the lymph nodes, blood, or internal organs. Cutaneous T-cell lymphomas refer to a serious but uncommon skin condition in which there is an abnormal neoplastic proliferation of lymphocytes with a ´T´ subtype. The most common forms of cutaneous T cell lymphoma are mycosis fungoides and Sezary syndrome, which make up the majority of this disease. Cutaneous cell lymphoma usually develops over many years. In rare cases, affected individuals may develop Sezary syndrome, a leukemic variant of mycosis fungoides.
Causes of Cutaneous cell lymphoma
The common causes and risk factor's of Cutaneous cell lymphoma include the following:
- The exect cause of Cutaneous cell lymphoma is unknown.
- Long-term exposure to chemicals.
- When T-lymphocytes become malignant and affect the skin.
- Long-term sun exposure.
- Smoking is also a risk factor for this disease.
Symptoms of Cutaneous cell lymphoma
Some sign and symptoms related to Cutaneous cell lymphoma are as follows:
- Dry, red, scaly patches on skin.
- Tumors on the skin (called mycosis fungoides).
- Swollen and painless lymph nodes.
- The palms and soles may become very thick and crack, making it difficult to walk.
- Appetite loss.
- Plaques may be annular (forming a ring); pink, white, or brown; and are often scaly.
- Flu-like symptoms - aches, fever, chills.
Treatment of Cutaneous cell lymphoma
Here is list of the methods for treating Cutaneous cell lymphoma:
- Bexarotene is used for the skin manifestations of the disease.
- Treatment with multiple agent chemotherapy may also be used.
- Vorinostat is a second-line drug for Cutaneous cell lymphoma.
- Photodynamic therapy -uses a certain type of light and a special chemical to kill cancer cells.
- Interferon is a protein that occurs naturally in the body. It is sometimes injected just under the skin (subcutaneously), to boost the body's own immune system to control the lymphoma.
- Electron beam radiation may be used for disease that has spread.