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Am J Hematol. 2005 Mar;78(3):232-9.

Current views in HTLV-I-associated adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA.


Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that the relative percentage of malignant lymphoid proliferations varies widely according to geographical location and ethnic populations. HTLV-I is the etiological agent of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) and is also associated with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). However, a definite role of HTLV-I in mycosis fungoides (MF) and/or Sezary syndrome (SS) remains controversial. While most HTLV-I-infected individuals remain asymptomatic carriers, 1-5% will develop ATLL, an invariably fatal expansion of virus-infected CD4+ T cells. This low incidence and the long latency period preceding occurrence of the disease suggest that additional factors are involved in development of ATLL. In this review, diagnosis, clinical features, and molecular pathogenesis of HTLV-I are discussed.

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