The cutaneous form of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma in a woman from the Ivory Coast. Clinical, immunovirologic studies and a review of the African adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma cases

Gessain, A.; Caumes, E.; Feyeux, C.; d'Agay, M.F.; Capesius, C.; Gentilini, M.; Morel, P.

Cancer 69(6): 1362-1367


ISSN/ISBN: 0008-543X
PMID: 1311622
DOI: 10.1002/1097-0142(19920315)69:6<1362::aid-cncr2820690610>;2-b
Accession: 007880700

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A 36-year-old woman from Ivory Coast, who has lived in France since 1976, had multiple cutaneous nodules and tumors in 1988. Histopathologic studies showed a massive infiltration of the dermis and hypodermis by a diffuse proliferation of mature activated T-cells (CD4-positive, CD25-positive, HLA-DR-positive) with irregular nuclei. The patient did not present with a leukemic picture and only few lymphoid cells with abnormally shaped nuclei were present in the blood. Human T leukemia/lymphoma virus type I (HTLV-I) antibodies were present in the serum and specific HTLV-1 pol sequences were detected in the DNA extracted from the tumor nodules and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) using the polymerase chain reaction technique. Whereas only a polyclonal integration of HTLV-1 provirus was detectable in the PBMC, a clonal integration of three HTLV-1 proviruses was demonstrated in the tumor nodules DNA, establishing with certainty the diagnosis of HTLV-I-induced adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL). This case illustrates the need for molecular studies to differentiate without ambiguity an ATL from any other type of cutaneous lymphoproliferation, even when it occurs in a HTLV-I-seropositive individual. The situation of HTLV-I-associated ATL in Africa is reviewed.