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27

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Mycosis Fungoides, Version 1.2016

inside, it releases the chemotherapy. By targeting

only cells with CD30 receptors, fewer normal cells

are harmed. Brentuximab vedotin is not yet FDA

approved for mycosis fungoides.

Brentuximab vedotin is slowly injected into a vein for

about 30 minutes. It is often given every 3 weeks.

The most common side effects include low blood

counts, tingling in hands and feet, fatigue, nausea,

diarrhea, fever, rash, hair loss, and lung infections.

Rare but severe side effects include brain infection,

serious disorder of skin and mucous membranes,

inflammation of the pancreas, and kidney problems.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy uses your immune system to help

fight cancer. Immunotherapy is also called biologic

therapy. There are three immunotherapies used to

treat mycosis fungoides.

Interferons

Interferon alfa and interferon gamma are molecules

called cytokines. Cytokines exist naturally in your

body as part of your immune system. They can

also be made in the lab and be used as a cancer

treatment. When used as a cancer treatment,

cytokines can be given in much higher amounts than

what the body makes. Cytokines will trigger your

immune system to attack cancer cells.

Interferon alfa and gamma can be received as

injections under the skin. Interferon alpha can also be

received as an injection into a vein. They are systemic

treatments that are given several times a week.

Common side effects include flu-like symptoms,

nausea, vomiting, not feeling hungry, depression, hair

thinning, heart damage, and liver damage.

Imiquimod

Imiquimod is a cream that is applied directly to skin

lesions. It triggers the immune system to make

interferon and other cytokines. How it treats mycosis

fungoides is not fully known and it is not approved by

the FDA for mycosis fungoides. Imiquimod can cause

skin to flake and itch. It may also cause your limbs to

swell.

3

Overview of cancer treatments Immunotherapy