Cutaneous Lymphoma Treatment

We customize your treatment plan to the specific subtype and stage of cutaneous lymphoma (CL) you are facing. Our team works with an integrated team of specialists to deliver your treatment. Our medical oncologists will meet with you to discuss your treatment options in detail. They will help you manage any side effects you may have. They will follow you and your progress throughout your treatment.

Whenever possible, we coordinate treatment through outreach centers closest to your home. We try to minimize your travel during therapy. Your treatment may include:

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy

In chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, we collect a sample of your blood and specially treat the T cells. Then we return those cells to your body. The treated T cells produce special proteins that recognize and bind to specific proteins on the cancer cells. This helps your immune system kill the cancer cells.

Excimer laser therapy

Excimer laser therapy is a specialized type of light treatment. We use a handheld wand to apply a focused dose of laser light to affected patches of skin. The stronger laser light requires fewer sessions to reach deeper into these patches.

Extracorporeal photophoresis

Extracorporeal photophoresis (ECP) is a type of immunotherapy. During ECP, we remove your blood and immune cells from your body. We treat them with a medication that makes them sensitive to light. The cells are then exposed to ultraviolet-A light and returned to your body. ECP is often combined with other treatment forms.

Light therapy

There are many types of light therapy—also called phototherapy. These include excimer laser therapy, photodynamic therapy, narrowband UVB phototherapy (NBUVB) and psoralen and UVA phototherapy (PUVA). NBUVB and PUVA use ultraviolet light, which is found in natural sunlight and used for these forms of light therapy. We recommend the type of light therapy based on the type of CL you are facing and your unique concerns. Depending on your treatment plan and insurance coverage, you may be able to do this therapy at home or an outreach center close to your home.


Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It can be effective in destroying the DNA of the cancer cells and preventing the return of cancer. Our radiation oncologists have experience with many forms of advanced radiation treatments for cutaneous lymphoma.

Skin creams or ointments

Some subtypes of cutaneous lymphoma respond well to topical treatments. You can apply these at home to the affected skin. Each works slightly differently and has different side effects. Sometimes we recommend combining a topical treatment with light therapy to enhance its effect.

Skin-directed therapy

Skin-directed therapies are applied directly to your skin. These include:

Stem cell transplant

With certain advanced forms of cutaneous lymphoma or if symptoms return after earlier treatments, we may recommend a transplant of healthy white blood cells from a biologically compatible donor. The entire treatment requires a hospital stay of several weeks. There can be serious side effects and an extended recovery time.


Some people with certain subtypes of cutaneous lymphoma respond well to surgery. Based on your diagnosis, anatomy and preferences, we may discuss more than one procedure with you.

Systemic therapies

Systemic therapy is a treatment that travels through your bloodstream to reach and affect cells all over the body. Systemic therapies we may use include biologic or targeted therapy, chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

Biologic or targeted therapy

Targeted or biologic therapy uses anti-cancer drugs given by injection or by mouth to kill cancer cells. We may recommend biologic therapy combined with another treatment, such as skin-directed therapy.


Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs given by injection or by mouth. These drugs kill cancer cells by attacking their reproduction. We may recommend chemotherapy combined with another treatment, such as skin-directed therapy.


Immunotherapy uses specially designed drugs given intravenously or by mouth. These drugs help your immune system recognize and neutralize cancer cells anywhere in your body. We may recommend immunotherapy in combination with other treatments.

Total skin electron therapy

We use total skin electron therapy (TSEB) to treat advanced CL. We also sometimes recommend TSEB prior to a stem cell transplant. This treatment involves a low dose of electron beam radiation to the entire skin. The treatment takes place over 6 to 10 weeks.