How I treat adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma

Blood. 2021 Jan 28;137(4):459-470. doi: 10.1182/blood.2019004045.


Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) is a highly aggressive T-cell malignancy that arises in a proportion of individuals who are long-term carriers of human T-lymphotropic virus type 1. The median survival of aggressive subtypes is 8 to 10 months; with chemotherapy-based approaches, overall survival has remained largely unchanged in the ∼35 years since ATL was first described. Through the use of 4 representative case studies, we highlight advances in the biological understanding of ATL and the use of novel therapies such as mogamulizumab, as well as how they are best applied to different subtypes of ATL. We discuss the implementation of molecular methods that may guide diagnosis or treatment, although we accept that these are not universally available. In particular, we acknowledge discrepancies in treatment between different countries, reflecting current drug licensing and the difficulties in making treatment decisions in a rare disease, with limited high-quality clinical trial data.