Lauren Pinter-Brown, MD, Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, Hematology-Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles, discusses physician and patient expectations when treating cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL).
As with other oncologic conditions, if a patient is being treated with a drug and progresses, it is obvious that the drug is ineffective. In patients with CTCL, physicians have to be aware of the time to response for particular treatments, as they're not identical.
In the case of bexarotene, the time to response is four months, which causes physicians and patients to set appropriate expectations as the patient's condition will not worsen but it will not get better for many months. Fortunately, monitoring CTCL does not require scans or blood tests: physicians simply have to monitor skin lesions as time passes.