Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 219-221

Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma: A retroviral malady

1 Department of Dermatology, Calicut Medical College, Kerala, India
2 Department of Medicine, Calicut Medical College, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Jaheersha Pakran
Department of Dermatology, 19/89, Nellicode Housing Colony, Kavu Stop, Chevayur P.O., Calicut-673 016, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.96201

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Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) is an aggressive leukemia/lymphoma of mature T-lymphocytes caused by human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). At a tertiary healthcare center in South India, a 58-year-old female presented with multiple erythematous, crusted, and umbilicated papules over the body along with cervical lymphadenopathy. The skin biopsy was consistent with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Although she responded initially to chemotherapy, the disease relapsed after 3 months, and she developed disseminated infiltrated skin lesions, generalized lymphadenopathy, and leukemia. Due to the unusual clinical findings we did HTLV-1 Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), which turned out to be positive in high titers. Her mother had died at an early age from a hematological malignancy and her daughter was also found to be seropositive. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case to be reported from India of the chronic type of ATLL associated with mother-to-child transmission of HTLV-1 in two generations. This case also emphasizes that the chronic type of ATLL can occur in nonendemic areas like India and should be suspected in nonresponding cases of mycosis fungoides. It should be kept in mind that the chronic type often presents without hypercalcemia or the characteristic 'flower cells' in the peripheral smear.

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