Case Report: HTLV-1-Induced Adult T-Cell Leukemia and Tropical Spastic Paresis

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2021 Sep 20;105(5):1298-1300. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.20-1656.


Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a retrovirus endemic in many areas around the world. HTLV-1 can induce the development of adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) or myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). We report a patient who presented to our outpatient clinic with massive splenomegaly, weight loss, urinary retention, and lower extremity weakness for the previous 3 years. The patient was found to have positive HTLV-1 by ELISA and Western blot from peripheral blood. Evaluation of the spleen demonstrated T-cell large granular lymphocyte leukemia consistent with ATL. In addition to progressive lower extremity weakness, hyperreflexia and clonus, cerebral spinal fluid was positive for HTLV-1 by ELISA and had a reversed CD4-to-CD8 ratio consistent with HAM/TSP. These findings suggest HTLV-1 induced ATL and HAM/TSP presenting simultaneously in the same patient.