Feasibility and safety of a new technique of extracorporeal photochemotherapy: Experience of 240 procedures

Cesare Perotti, Lorella Torretta, Gianluca Viarengo, Laura Roveda, Stefano Bernuzzi, Sandra Carbone, Claudia Del Fante, Rosa La Torre, Franco Locatelli, Federico Bonetti, Paola Gabba, Mario Bellosta, Laura Salvaneschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objective. Extracorporeal photochemotherapy (ECP) is a therapeutic approach based on the biological effects of ultraviolet light (UV) - A and psoralens on mononuclear cells collected by apheresis. Recently, ECP has been under investigation as an alternative treatment for various Immune and autoimmune diseases. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and feasibility of a new three-step ECP technique, in terms of reproducibility, acceptance, tolerability, and short and long term side effects. Design and Methods. Seventeen patients affected by acute or chronic graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), pemphigus vulgaris, or interferon-resistant chronic hepatitis C and one patient being treated for prevention of heart transplant rejection underwent 240 ECP procedures. MNC collection and processing parameters were recorded, biological effects of UV-A/8 methoxy-psoralen (8-MOP) were evaluated, and short and long term side effects were monitored. Results. At a mean follow up of 7 months (range 2-19) 240 ECP had been completed, a mean of 7,136 mL (range 1,998-10,591) of whole blood having been-processed per procedure. The mean of total nucleated cells collected per procedure was 6.5x109 (range 0.65-23.8), with a mean MNC percentage of 85% (41.4-98%) in a mean final volume of 115.5 mL (37160). No severe side effects were documented and no infectious episodes occurred throughout the course of the treatment. Interpretation and Conclusions. The new ECP technique was highly reproducible as regards the collection and each processing step. Short and long term side effects were mild. No increase in infectious episodes was recorded. All patients willingly underwent ECP, demonstrating an excellent tolerability for the procedure even after several courses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-241
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999


  • 8- methoxypsoralen
  • Extracorporeal photochemotherapy
  • Ultraviolet-A light

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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