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Implication of HTLV-I infection, strongyloidiasis, and P53 overexpression in the development, response to treatment, and evolution of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas in an endemic area (Martinique, French West Indies).

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  • 1Service des Maladies du Sang, Hôpital Haut-Lévêque, CHU Bordeaux, France.


A clinicopathologic study was conducted to assess the implication of HTLV-I infection, Strongyloides stercoralis (Ss) infection, and P53 overexpression in the development, response to treatment, and evolution of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in Martinique, French West Indies. Two groups of patients, with 22 and 41 participants with B-cell and T-cell lymphoma, respectively, were analyzed. HTLV-I antibodies were detected in 24 (59%) patients with T-cell lymphoma of whom 19 (46%) fulfilled diagnostic criteria of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL). By comparison with other T-cell lymphomas, patients with ATLL were significantly younger (52 versus 63 years; p = .03), had a significantly higher incidence of hypercalcemia (60% versus 0%; p = .0001), a trend for higher incidence of digestive tract localization (21% versus 4%; p = .1) and significantly shorter median survival (6 versus 17 months; p = .03). Similar results were observed when all 24 HTLV-I-infected patients with T-cell lymphoma were compared with the 17 seronegative patients. Strongyloidiasis was diagnosed in 11 of 34 patients tested for Ss infection. All 4 Ss-infected (Ss-positive) ATLL patients treated with combination chemotherapy achieved complete remission (CR) versus only 2 of 7 Ss-negative ATLL patients (p = .04). In addition, survival of Ss-positive patients with ATLL was better than that of the uninfected patients: 27 versus 5 months, p = .04, respectively). P53 expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry on lymph node biopsies from 37 patients including 18 B-cell lymphomas, 14 ATLL, and 5 other T-cell lymphomas. P53 overexpression (P53-positive) was observed in 6 samples that corresponded in all 6 patients with ATLL. All P53-positive ATLL patients had stage IV disease with elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels. By comparison with other ATLL patients studied for p53 expression, P53-positive ATLL were characterized by a lower response rate to combination chemotherapy (CR: 0 of 6 versus 4 of 6; p = .04) and a shorter survival (2 versus 9 months, p = .04). Our results suggest that ATLL represents almost 50% of T-cell lymphomas in Martinique; Ss infection during ATLL seems to be linked with a high response rate to chemotherapy and prolonged survival; and P53 overexpression is observed in almost 50% of aggressive ATLL from Martinique and, even in advanced clinical subtypes, is associated with resistance to chemotherapy and short-term survival.

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