Extracorporeal Photopheresis (ECP)


Treatment of CTCL/Mycosis Fungoides/Sezary, GVHD, and organ transplant rejection

Why It Works

ECP is thought to help restore the body’s natural ability to maintain a balanced immune system.


Two treatments per week, every other week or weekly (varies), slow taper of timing. Results are not immediate and may take several treatments before results are seen. Usual treatment course is 6 months to 1 year. The goal is to decrease disease/gvhd/organ rejection and decrease immunosuppression needs.

Nursing Considerations

  • Daily weight
  • Hematocrit of 27
  • Line access (vas cath, temp line, high flow vortex port, or PIV)
  • Lowfat diet 24 hours prior to procedure
  • Photo sensitivity- avoid sunlight for 24 hours, even indirect sunlight coming through a window, wear sunscreen when exposed to sunlight indoors and outdoors, wear UVA protective full coverage sunglasses when exposed to sunlight (very important especially for outpatients)

How It Works

A small amount of the patient’s blood is removed via patient line access, white blood cells (WBCs) are isolated and treated with a drug that causes them to be sensitive to UVA light, the rest of the blood is returned to the patient. The WBCs that are isolated and treated with medication are then exposed to UVA light and then returned to the patient.

Rube Walker Blood Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
250 East Superior Street
Fifth Floor, Suite 05-2322
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Phone 312.926.2342