Background Neoplastic T-cell recruitment into the skin is a critical step in the pathogenesis of mycosis fungoides (MF), and the cutaneous T-cell attracting chemokine, CTACK/CCL27, might be involved. Objectives To investigate the clinical and prognostic significance of CTACK/CCL27 levels in patients with early-stage MF. Methods Serum samples and skin biopsy specimens were collected from 15 patients at the time of diagnosis and after the end of treatment with psoralen plus ultraviolet A/interferon alfa-2b combination therapy. Serum samples were also collected from 20 healthy donors as controls. CTACK/CCL27 serum levels were analysed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. CTACK/CCL27 tissue expression was determined by immunohistochemistry on skin biopsy specimens taken at diagnosis and after therapy. Event-free survival was taken as the primary clinical outcome. Results In patients with MF at diagnosis, CTACK/CCL27 serum levels were not significantly different from healthy controls, whereas CTACK/CCL27 expression in the skin was increased in 87% of cases compared with normal controls. After therapy, all patients obtained a clinical complete remission, serum levels did not change significantly and tissue expression remained abnormal in 80% of patients, even if complete histological remission was recorded. Serum levels were not significantly different in cases with different intensity of cutaneous immunostaining. Eight patients experienced a relapse: the combination of high CTACK/CCL27 levels both in sera and skin increased the probability of experiencing an event at 51 months from 36% to 83%. Conclusions Our data seem to indicate that CTACK/CCL27 levels in skin and sera after therapy might be correlated with risk of recurrence.
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