BACKGROUND: Monoclonal T-cell receptor (TCR) rearrangement is detected in 57-75% of early-stage mycosis fungoides (MF) at diagnosis. A retrospective study showed molecular residual disease (MRD) in 31% of patients in complete clinical remission (CR) after 1 year of treatment.
OBJECTIVES: To confirm the frequency of MRD at 1 year and to determine its prognostic value for further relapse.
METHODS: Patients with T1-, T2- or T4-stage MF were prospectively included in this multicentre study. At diagnosis, clinical lesions and healthy skin were biopsied. After 1 year of topical treatment, previously involved skin of patients in CR was biopsied for histology and analysis of TCR-γ gene rearrangement. The results were compared with the clinical status each year for 4 years.
RESULTS: We included 214 patients, 133 at T1, 78 at T2 and three at T4 stage. At diagnosis, 126 of 204 cases (61·8%) showed TCR clonality in lesional skin. After 1 year, 83 of 178 patients (46·6%) still being followed up were in CR and 13 of 63 (21%) showed MRD. At 4 years, 55 of 109 patients (50·5%) still being followed up were in CR and 44 of 109 (40·4%) were in T1 stage. MRD did not affect clinical status at 4 years (CR vs. T1/T2, P = 1·0; positive predictive value 36·4%; negative predictive value 67·6%).
CONCLUSIONS: T-cell clonality at diagnosis and MRD at 1 year are not prognostic factors of clinical status at 4 years.