Discrete serum protein signatures discriminate between human retrovirus-associated hematologic and neurologic disease

Leukemia. 2005 Jul;19(7):1229-38. doi: 10.1038/sj.leu.2403781.


The human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I) is the causative agent for adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and HTLV-I-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). Approximately 5% of infected individuals will develop either disease and currently there are no diagnostic tools for early detection or accurate assessment of disease state. We have employed high-throughput expression profiling of serum proteins using mass spectrometry to identify protein expression patterns that can discern between disease states of HTLV-I-infected individuals. Our study group consisted of 42 ATL, 50 HAM/TSP, and 38 normal controls. Spectral peaks corresponding to peptide ions were generated from MS-TOF data. We applied Classification and Regression Tree analysis to build a decision algorithm, which achieved 77% correct classification rate across the three groups. A second cohort of 10 ATL, 10 HAM and 10 control samples was used to validate this result. Linear discriminate analysis was performed to verify and visualize class separation. Affinity and sizing chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry was used to identify three peaks specifically overexpressed in ATL: an 11.7 kDa fragment of alpha trypsin inhibitor, and two contiguous fragments (19.9 and 11.9 kDa) of haproglobin-2. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first application of protein profiling to distinguish between two disease states resulting from a single infectious agent.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Proteins / analysis*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia-Lymphoma, Adult T-Cell / blood*
  • Leukemia-Lymphoma, Adult T-Cell / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraparesis, Tropical Spastic / blood*
  • Paraparesis, Tropical Spastic / diagnosis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods


  • Blood Proteins