Bexarotene in the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

Christiane Querfeld*, Lakshmi V. Nagelli, Steven T. Rosen, Timothy M. Kuzel, Joan Guitart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Primary cutaneous T-cell lymphomas encompass a spectrum of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas that are characterised by clonal proliferation of skin-homing malignant T lymphocytes. Mycosis fungoides and the leukaemic variant Sézary syndrome, collectively referred to as cutaneous T-cell lymphomas, are the most common entities. No curative therapy exists and patients ultimately develop advanced or relapsed disease that is refractory to standard treatment options. Therefore, there is a great need for the development of novel emerging therapies. Bexarotene is the first synthetic nuclear retinoid X receptor-selective retinoid approved by the FDA for the treatment of refractory cutaneous T-cell lymphoma in all stages, as both an oral capsule and a topical gel formulation. Bexarotene was found to induce apoptosis in a variety of preclinical in vitro and in vivo models including cutaneous T-cell lymphoma cells, and has shown efficacy in two multi-centre, open-label Phase II - III clinical trials for early and advanced stages of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma in patients who have failed or were refractory to standard therapies. New insights into the immunomodulatory function of bexarotene have indicated opportunities for combined treatment with IFN-α, denileukin diftitox or phototherapy. This article reviews the biological properties, pharmacokinetics, clinical efficacy, safety and role of bexarotene in the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-915
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Bexarotene
  • Biological immune modifier
  • Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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