Alemtuzumab is an effective third-line treatment versus single-agent gemcitabine or pralatrexate for refractory Sézary syndrome: a systematic review

Jacob R. Stewart, Neil B Desai, Syed Mujtaba Rizvi, Hong Zhu, Heather W. Goff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


The efficacy of alemtuzumab for the treatment of refractory Sézary syndrome (SS) versus other third-line agents such as pralatrexate and gemcitabine is poorly characterized. To elucidate the effectiveness of alemtuzumab versus other third-line options for the treatment of refractory SS, we conducted a meta-analysis of existing data. A systematic review was performed in March 2017 based on a search using Ovid-MEDLINE® and OVID-EMBASE® for articles evaluating single-agent alemtuzumab, gemcitabine, or pralatrexate for the treatment of SS and mycosis fungoides (MF). Twenty-two publications were identified that fulfilled all search criteria (total n = 323 patients), with six publications of lower quality being excluded from our analysis in order to decrease the risk of bias (final: n = 308 patients; 93 with SS and 147 with MF). Across all studies, alemtuzumab was significantly more effective in patients with SS (overall response rate [ORR]: 81%; complete response rate [CRR]: 38%) than patients with MF (ORR: 29%; CRR: 8%). However, gemcitabine was more effective than alemtuzumab or pralatrexate in treating MF. Alemtuzumab-treated patients had more frequent side effects, which were influenced by route of administration and dose. There was a lower incidence of lymphopenia and other serious adverse events in patients treated with subcutaneous (38%) compared to intravenous regimens (68%), and lower-dose (5%) compared to high-dose alemtuzumab regimens (54%). No significant differences were found in the effectiveness of different routes of administration or dosing regimens. Our review supports the use of low-dose subcutaneous alemtuzumab as a third-line treatment for SS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)764-774
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean journal of dermatology : EJD
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018



  • alemtuzumab
  • cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
  • gemcitabine
  • mycosis fungoides
  • pralatrexate
  • Sézary syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

Cite this