Total skin electron beam therapy for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma: a nationwide cohort study from Denmark

Acta Oncol. 2011 Nov;50(8):1199-205. doi: 10.3109/0284186X.2011.585999. Epub 2011 Jul 8.


Background: Total skin electron beam therapy (TSEBT) is an effective palliative treatment for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). In the present study we reviewed the clinical response to TSEBT in Danish patients with CTCL.

Material and methods: This retrospective study included 35 patients with CTCL treated with TSEBT in Denmark from 2001 to 2008 and followed for a median time of 7.6 months (range 3 days-3.7 years). Twenty five patients were treated with high-dose (30 Gy) and 10 patients in a protocol with low-dose (4 Gy) TSEBT.

Results: Patients treated with low-dose therapy had inadequate response to treatment compared to patients treated with high-dose. Consequently the study with low-dose was discontinued and published. In patients treated with high-dose the overall response rate was 100%. Complete response (CR) rate was 68% and CR occurred after a median time of 2.1 months (range 1.8 months-2.0 years). We found no difference in CR rate in patients with T2 (66.7%) and T3 disease (78.6%) (p = 0.64). Following CR 82.4% relapsed at a median time of four months (range 12 days-11.5 months). Relapse-free-survival was similar in patients with T2 and T3 disease (p = 0.77). Progressive disease (PD) was experienced in 28.0% and the median time to PD was 9.0 months (range 4.6-44.3 months). Overall progression-free survival was 95.3%, 72.1% and 64.1% after 0.5-, 1- and 2-years. Effects of initial therapy on TSEBT treatment response and side effects to TSEBT were also analyzed.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the present study confirms that high-dose TSEBT is an effective, but generally not a curative therapy in the management of CTCL. High-dose treatment yielded significantly better results than low-dose treatment with 4 Gy. TSEBT offers significant palliation in most patients when other skin-directed or systemic treatments have failed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electrons / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous / radiotherapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Radiotherapy, High-Energy / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / radiotherapy*