Characteristics associated with significantly worse quality of life in mycosis fungoides/Sézary syndrome from the Prospective Cutaneous Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (PROCLIPI) study

Br J Dermatol. 2020 Mar;182(3):770-779. doi: 10.1111/bjd.18089. Epub 2019 Jul 28.


Background: Mycosis fungoides (MF) and Sézary Syndrome (SS) are the most common cutaneous T-cell lymphomas. MF/SS is accompanied by considerable morbidity from pain, itching and disfigurement.

Aim: To identify factors associated with poorer health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients newly diagnosed with MF/SS.

Methods: Patients enrolled into Prospective Cutaneous Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (PROCLIPI; an international observational study in MF/SS) had their HRQoL assessed using the Skindex-29 questionnaire. Skindex-29 scores were analysed in relation to patient- and disease-specific characteristics.

Results: The study population consisted of 237 patients [60·3% male; median age 60 years, (interquartile range 49-70)], of whom 179 had early MF and 58 had advanced MF/SS. In univariate analysis, HRQoL, as measured by Skindex-29, was worse in women, SS, late-stage MF, those with elevated lactate dehydrogenase, alopecia, high modified Severity Weighted Assessment Tool and confluent erythema. Linear regression models only identified female gender (β = 8·61; P = 0·003) and alopecia (β = 9·71, P = 0·02) as independent predictors of worse global HRQoL. Item-level analysis showed that the severe impairment in symptoms [odds ratio (OR) 2·14, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·19-3·89] and emotions (OR 1·88, 95% CI 1·09-3·27) subscale scores seen in women was caused by more burning/stinging, pruritus, irritation and greater feelings of depression, shame, embarrassment and annoyance with their diagnosis of MF/SS.

Conclusions: HRQoL is significantly more impaired in newly diagnosed women with MF/SS and in those with alopecia. As Skindex-29 does not include existential questions on cancer, which may cause additional worry and distress, a comprehensive validated cutaneous T-cell lymphoma-specific questionnaire is urgently needed to more accurately assess disease-specific HRQoL in these patients. What's already known about this topic? Cross-sectional studies of mixed populations of known and newly diagnosed patients with mycosis fungoides (MF)/Sézary syndrome (SS) have shown significant impairment in health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Previous studies on assessing gender-specific differences in HRQoL in MF/SS are conflicting. More advanced-stage disease and pruritus is associated with poorer HRQoL in patients with MF/SS. What does this study add? This is the first prospective study to investigate HRQoL in a homogenous group of newly diagnosed patients with MF/SS. In patients newly diagnosed with MF/SS, HRQoL is worse in women and in those with alopecia and confluent erythema. MF/SS diagnosis has a multidimensional impact on patient HRQoL, including a large burden of cutaneous symptoms, as well as a negative impact on emotional well-being.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycosis Fungoides*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Sezary Syndrome*
  • Skin Neoplasms*