Functional and phenotypic comparison of human T cell leukemia/lymphoma virus positive adult T cell leukemia with human T cell leukemia/lymphoma virus negative Sézary leukemia, and their distinction using anti-Tac. Monoclonal antibody identifying the human receptor for T cell growth factor

J Clin Invest. 1984 Jun;73(6):1711-8. doi: 10.1172/JCI111379.


Adult T cell leukemia (ATL) and Sézary leukemia are malignant proliferations of T lymphocytes that share similar cell morphology and clinical features. ATL is associated with HTLV (human T cell leukemia/lymphoma virus), a unique human type C retrovirus, whereas most patients with the Sézary syndrome do not have antibodies to this virus. Leukemic cells of both groups were of the T3, T4-positive, T8-negative phenotype. Despite the similar phenotype, HTLV-negative Sézary leukemic cells frequently functioned as helper cells, whereas some HTLV-positive ATL and HTLV-positive Sézary cells appeared to function as suppressors of immunoglobulin synthesis. One can distinguish the HTLV-positive from the HTLV-negative leukemias using a monoclonal antibody (anti-Tac) that appears to identify the human receptor for T cell growth factor (TCGF). Resting normal T cells and most HTLV-negative Sézary cells were Tac-negative, whereas all ATL cell populations were Tac-positive. The observation that ATL cells manifest TCGF receptors suggests the possibility that an abnormality of the TCGF-TCGF receptor system may partially explain the uncontrolled growth of these cells.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibody Formation
  • Deltaretrovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / microbiology*
  • Leukemia / physiopathology
  • Lymphoma / microbiology*
  • Lymphoma / physiopathology
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Immunologic / analysis*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Reference Values
  • Retroviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Sezary Syndrome / immunology
  • Sezary Syndrome / microbiology*
  • Sezary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • T-Lymphocytes / microbiology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2