Background: Adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma (ATLL) is a human malignancy associated with human T-cell leukaemia virus type I (HTLV-I). ATLL frequently involves the skin. Objectives: To correlate the clinicopathological features and prognosis in patients with ATLL and cutaneous lesions. Methods: We examined the HTLV-I proviral state and the clinicopathological features of the cutaneous lesions in 80 patients with serum anti-ATL antibody, to clarify the correlation between macroscopic/histopathological findings and prognosis. Southern blot analysis was performed in all cases to detect monoclonal HTLV-I proviral DNA integration. Results: The cutaneous lesions of 46 patients were positive for proviral DNA integration. The median survival time of patients with monoclonal proviral DNA integration in cutaneous lesions was 14 months, which was markedly shorter than that of patients negative for proviral DNA integration (72 months). Of the 46 patients with proviral DNA, 21 had solitary or multiple red nodules (including three with subcutaneous induration), eight had multiple red papules and 17 had erythema. Patients with papules and nodules had poorer prognosis than those with erythema. Histopathologically, the prognosis was poorer in patients with nodular or diffuse infiltration of medium-sized to large lymphoma cells, compared with those with perivascular infiltration of small to medium-sized lymphoma cells. Conclusions: Our results show a close correlation between clinicopathological features of HTLV-I-associated cutaneous lesions and prognosis.
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