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Cancer Res. 1983 Aug;43(8):3892-9.

Association of the human type C retrovirus with a subset of adult T-cell cancers.


To determine whether the human T-cell lymphoma-leukemia virus (HTLV) is associated with particular cancers, patient sera were surveyed for HTLV-specific antibodies. An association was seen with aggressive cancers of mature T-cells, specifically Japanese adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and T-cell lymphosarcoma cell leukemia (TLCL), a similar cancer of Caribbean blacks. Ninety to 100% of these patients possessed HTLV-specific antibody. Forty-seven and 20% of relatives of ATL and TLCL patients, respectively, and 12 and 4% of healthy donors from ATL and TLCL endemic areas were also antibody positive. Visceral organ involvement, hypercalcemia, and skin manifestation, features of ATL and TLCL, were often seen in other antibody-positive patients. Childhood cancers, most cutaneous T-cell and all non-T-cell leukemias and lymphomas, myeloid leukemias, Hodgkin's disease, and solid tumors were not associated with HTLV. Healthy United States donors and European patients with non-malignant diseases were antibody negative. HTLV is thus associated with a subtype of adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma, clustered in viral endemic areas, with apparent racial and geographic predilection.

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