Higher Risk of Secondary Cancers for Patients With Mycosis Fungoides

According to a 20-year longitudinal study, patients with mycosis fungoides have a higher risk of developing secondary solid tumors based on patient age, disease stage, and other factors.


Adult patients with mycosis fungoides (MF) have a higher risk of secondary malignancies, according to a 20-year population-based cohort study. The researchers, from Bezmialem Vakif University in Istanbul, Turkey, say their findings support earlier research about a higher risk of, for instance, Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic leukemia, and lung cancer.

Between 1998 and 2015, the researchers documented 143 cases of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). The majority of patients had early-stage disease.


The researchers also documented 13 cases (9%) of secondary malignancy diagnosed at least 3 months after the diagnosis of CTCL. The cancers included bladder cancer, nasopharynx cancer, renal cell carcinoma, lung cancer, and superficial spreading malignant melanoma.

Older age, stage IV disease, lymphomatoid papulosis, and having CTCL for > 10 years raised the chances of developing secondary solid tumors. In 60% of patients, the secondary malignancies occurred during the first year of diagnosis.

Research has suggested that antilymphoma drugs, particularly alkylating agents, may lead to leukemia, the researchers note. In this study, 6 patients with secondary cancers were getting systemic treatment with interferon or acitretin; 7 were getting no systemic treatment.

The researchers add that MF and hematologic malignancies may share genetic origin, carcinogens, or viruses that affect lymphocyte precursors. They also note that the first neoplasm may produce cytokines that induce development of the secondary neoplasm. The researchers cite research that found MF is a T helper cell 2–mediated disease associated with human leukocyte antigen 2 alleles. Viruses such as Epstein-Barr and herpes simplex also have been implicated.

“Extensive evaluation” for secondary malignancies in adult patients with MF is wise, the researchers advise, particularly if the patient has lymphomatoid papulosis.


Cengiz FP, Emiroğlu N, Onsun N. Turk J Haematol. 2017;34(4):378-379.

doi: 10.4274/tjh.2017.0234.

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