Current treatment consists of single or multiple cytotoxic drug combinations, biologic agents, and therapy directly to the skin such as ultraviolet light, electron beam, and phototherapy. Recently a new anti-cancer agent, pentostatin, has been evaluated with some success.
Physicians at MD Anderson Medical Center evaluated pentostatin treatment in 24 patients with refractory T-cell lymphomas. All patients had received and failed several previous treatments. Forty-six per cent of patients achieved a partial remission and 25% a complete remission following treatment with pentostatin. The most common side effects were a low blood cell count, nausea and fever. Another complication was herpes zoster (shingles) which occurred in 19% of patients.
Pentostatin is an active and promising new anti-cancer agent, even when utilized in patients with T-cell lymphomas that have failed other therapies. Future clinical studies will evaluate the effectiveness of pentostatin therapy utilized earlier in the disease course and in combination with other anti-cancer therapies. (Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 17, No 10, pp 3117-3121, 1999)