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J Infect Dis. 1983 Mar;147(3):406-16.

Epidemiology of human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus.


Human T (thymus-derived)-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus (HTLV) is the first retrovirus consistently isolated from humans. Seroepidemiologic testing for antibodies to HTLV document the following. (1) HTLV is associated with a spectrum of mature T-cell lymphoreticular neoplasms. (2) HTLV is strongly associated with clusters of adult T-cell leukemia in Japan and a related syndrome, lymphosarcoma T-cell leukemia in the Caribbean. (3) Virus-positive infections from other areas of the world share similar clinicopathologic features, with some overlap with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). Antibodies to HTLV are lacking in most persons with CTCL. (4) Virus-associated malignancy clusters in geographic areas where HTLV infection is prevalent, and virus positivity varies by country, region within country, age, and possibly race and sex. Although preliminary, the epidemiologic data suggest that HTLV is etiologically linked to a specific subtype of mature T-cell malignancy.

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