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Staging and prognosis of mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome

Richard T Hoppe, MD
Youn H Kim, MD
Section Editors
Timothy M Kuzel, MD, FACP
John A Zic, MD
Deputy Editor
Alan G Rosmarin, MD


Mycosis fungoides (MF) and Sézary syndrome (SS) are the most common subtypes of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL).

MF is a mature T cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma with presentation in the skin but with potential involvement of the nodes, blood, and viscera. Skin lesions include patches or plaques that may be localized or widespread, tumors, and erythroderma.

SS is a distinctive erythrodermic CTCL with a leukemic involvement of malignant T cells clonally matching that in the skin.

This group of disorders differs from other primary CTCLs by virtue of unique clinical features and histopathology. This topic review will discuss the staging, response criteria, and prognosis of MF and SS. The diagnosis and management of these disorders are discussed separately. (See "Clinical manifestations, pathologic features, and diagnosis of mycosis fungoides" and "Clinical presentation, pathologic features, and diagnosis of Sézary syndrome" and "Treatment of early stage (IA to IIA) mycosis fungoides" and "Treatment of advanced stage (IIB to IV) mycosis fungoides".)


TNMB criteria — The standard staging classification system for mycosis fungoides (MF) and Sézary syndrome (SS) is the TNMB system, which is based upon an evaluation of the skin (T), lymph nodes (N), visceral involvement (M), and blood (B) (table 1A-B) [1]. The standard staging evaluation includes a careful examination of the skin (especially the scalp, palms, soles, and perineum) with skin biopsy, a complete blood count with Sézary cell analysis, screening chemistries including lactate dehydrogenase, and a chest x-ray (table 2). Lymph node biopsies, not fine needle aspirations, are obtained if lymphadenopathy is present, since lymph node involvement affects both the stage and prognosis.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 06, 2017.
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