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

Cancer. 1992 Mar 15;69(6):1362-7. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19920315)69:6<1362::aid-cncr2820690610>;2-b.


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-I 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-I provirus was detectable in the PBMC, a clonal integration of three HTLV-I 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.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Female
  • Human T-lymphotropic virus 1 / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Leukemia-Lymphoma, Adult T-Cell / microbiology
  • Leukemia-Lymphoma, Adult T-Cell / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*


  • DNA, Viral