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Rinsho Ketsueki. 2017;58(10):2004-2011. doi: 10.11406/rinketsu.58.2004.

Molecular pathogenesis and its therapeutic implication for ATL.

[Article in Japanese]

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Kagoshima University Hospital, Department of Hematology and Immunology.


Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) is a peripheral T-cell malignancy caused by human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-1). HTLV-1 related proteins Tax and HTLV-1 bZIP factor induce immortalization and transformation of HTLV-1-infected T-lymphocytes and eventually induce clonal proliferation. One of the apparent molecular features in ATL cells is abundant genomic abnormalities targeting characteristic pathways, including T-cell receptor signaling and the NF-κB pathway, G-protein coupled-receptor, including CCR4, and transcriptional regulation. Moreover, the overexpression of PD-L1 caused by structural variations in the 3'-UTR of the PD-L1 gene has been reported recently, which indicates possible escape of ATL cells from immune-surveillance and its therapeutic application for pharmacological intervention. The next is the downregulation of microRNAs and tumor suppressors by genome-wide epigenetic abnormalities, especially accumulation of trimethylated H3K27 induced by EZH2. Among these molecular events frequently observed in ATL cells, treatment targeting CCR4 via a monoclonal antibody has been introduced in the clinic, and immune-therapy by therapeutic vaccine with Tax peptide-pulsed dendritic cells, treatment by immune checkpoint inhibitors, and treatment targeting EZH1/2 by a small molecule inhibitor are under clinical trial. Establishment of novel treatment strategies beyond cytotoxic agents for ATL are eagerly anticipated, especially for elderly patients.


ATL; Molecular pathogenesis; Novel therapy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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