Results of a phase II trial of oral bexarotene (Targretin) combined with interferon alfa-2b (Intron-A) for patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

David J. Straus*, Madeleine Duvic, Timothy Kuzel, Steven Horwitz, Marie France Demierre, Patricia Myskowski, Steven Steckel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Bexarotene is one of the most active single agents for the treatment of recurring or refractory cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). Interferon alfa has also been used for many years as an effective treatment for this disease. The results in recent case reports of the combination of bexarotene and interferon alfa have been promising. Based on more extensive results reported with the combination of other retinoids with interferon alfa, the present study attempted to determine the response rate, response duration, and safety of bexarotene (Targretin capsules, Ligand Pharmaceuticals, San Diego, Calif) alone and then with the addition of interferon alfa-2b (Intron-A, Schering-Plough, Kenilworth, NJ). METHODS. Patients with biopsy-proven CTCL, TNM stages IB, IIA, IIB-IV were treated with oral bexarotene 300 mg/m 2/day for at least 8 weeks. If a complete response was not seen after 8 weeks, interferon alfa-2b 3 million units (MU) subcutaneously was added, and increased to 5 MU if tolerated, 3 times a week. RESULTS. A total of 22 patients were enrolled at 5 sites, and 18 patients were assessable for response. Overall response rate for combined bexarotene and interferon alfa was 39% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 17%-64%), including 1 patient with a clinical complete response, 6 patients with partial response, 3 patients with stable disease, and 8 patients with progressive disease. Three partial responses were first noted during the bexarotene-alone phase. Adverse events were generally manageable, and only 1 patient was withdrawn from study for hypertriglyceridemia. CONCLUSIONS. The addition of interferon alfa-2b did not increase the response rate that would have been expected with bexarotene alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1799-1803
Number of pages5
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2007


  • Bexarotene
  • CTCL
  • Interferon
  • Phase II
  • RXR
  • Retinoids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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