Clinical characteristics of HTLV-1 associated dermato-polymyositis. Seven cases from Martinique

Acta Neurol Scand. 1995 Sep;92(3):206-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.1995.tb01689.x.


Myositis linked to HTLV-1 is unfrequent. Over a period of 8 years, 14 patients with inflammatory myopathy were diagnosed in Martinique. Seven were seropositive for HTLV 1 antibody; the clinical and pathological data of whom are presented herein. Five patients presented with polymyositis, two with dermatomyositis. All seven patients had extra-muscular clinical features including neuropathy (4/7) and myelopathy (6/7), resulting in a quite peculiar clinical picture. Muscle biopsy showed a neurogenic process combined with myositic changes in 3/7 patients. Corticotherapy led to dramatic improvement in only one case, but with no sustained effect. HTLV 1 may be considered the etiological agent of this form of dermato-polymyositis, characterized by a clearly distinctive clinico-pathological picture, and a poor response to corticotherapy. As in the case of tropical spastic paraparesis/HTLV 1 associated myelopathy, careful assessment of non-steroidal therapy is now warranted.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Child
  • Dermatomyositis / diagnosis*
  • Dermatomyositis / drug therapy
  • Dermatomyositis / pathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HTLV-I Infections / diagnosis*
  • HTLV-I Infections / drug therapy
  • HTLV-I Infections / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Martinique
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Neurologic Examination / drug effects
  • Paraparesis, Tropical Spastic / diagnosis*
  • Paraparesis, Tropical Spastic / drug therapy
  • Paraparesis, Tropical Spastic / pathology
  • Polymyositis / diagnosis*
  • Polymyositis / drug therapy
  • Polymyositis / pathology
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Failure


  • Prednisone