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Oncotarget. 2017 Oct 7;8(56):95981-95998. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.21619. eCollection 2017 Nov 10.

Analysis of CTCL cell lines reveals important differences between mycosis fungoides/Sézary syndrome vs. HTLV-1+ leukemic cell lines.

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Division of Dermatology, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Division of Dermatology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Université de Sherbrooke Rnomics Platform, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada.
Department of Pathology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Québec, Canada.
Department of International Health, Immunology, and Microbiology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Contributed equally


HTLV-1 is estimated to affect ~20 million people worldwide and in ~5% of carriers it produces Adult T-Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma (ATLL), which can often masquerade and present with classic erythematous pruritic patches and plaques that are typically seen in Mycosis Fungoides (MF) and Sézary Syndrome (SS), the most recognized variants of Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphomas (CTCL). For many years the role of HTLV-1 in the pathogenesis of MF/SS has been hotly debated. In this study we analyzed CTCL vs. HTLV-1+ leukemic cells. We performed G-banding/spectral karyotyping, extensive gene expression analysis, TP53 sequencing in the 11 patient-derived HTLV-1+ (MJ and Hut102) vs. HTLV-1- (Myla, Mac2a, PB2B, HH, H9, Hut78, SZ4, Sez4 and SeAx) CTCL cell lines. We further tested drug sensitivities to commonly used CTCL therapies and studied the ability of these cells to produce subcutaneous xenograft tumors in NOD.Cg-Prkdcscid Il2rgtm1Wjl/SzJ mice. Our work demonstrates that unlike classic advanced MF/SS cells that acquire many ongoing balanced and unbalanced chromosomal translocations, HTLV-1+ CTCL leukemia cells are diploid and exhibit only a minimal number of non-specific chromosomal alterations. Our results indicate that HTLV-1 virus is likely not involved in the pathogenesis of classic MF/SS since it drives a very different pathway of lymphomagenesis based on our findings in these cells. This study also provides for the first time a comprehensive characterization of the CTCL cells with respect to gene expression profiling, TP53 mutation status, ability to produce tumors in mice and response to commonly used therapies.


cutaneous T-cell lymphomas; gene expression analysis; human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1; spectral karyotyping; xenograft tumors

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST The authors declare no competing financial interest.

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