Prevalence of HTLV-I-associated T-cell lymphoma

B. J. Poiesz, L. D. Papsidero, G. Ehrlich, M. Sherman, S. Dube, M. Poiesz, K. Dillon, F. W. Ruscetti, D. Slamon, C. Fang, A. Williams, D. Duggan, J. Glaser, A. Gottlieb, J. Goldberg, L. Ratner, P. Phillips, T. Han, A. Friedman-Kien, F. SiegalK. Rai, A. Sawitsky, L. W.A. Sheremata, H. Dosik, C. Cunningham, R. Montagna

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30 Scopus citations


In order to assess the prevalence rate of HTLV-I-associated T-cell lymphomas and human retrovirus infection in general, approximately 21,000 individuals representing various patient populations, retroviral risk groups, and blood donors were examined for HTLV-I, HTLV-II, HIV-1, or HIV-2 infection using serologic and PCR assays. The prevalence rates among volunteer blood donors were 0.02% and 0% for HTLV and HIV, respectively. Significantly increased HTLV prevalence rates were observed among paid blood donors, African American health care clinic patients, Amerindians, recipients of HTLV-positive cellular blood products, intravenous drug users, sexual contacts and family members of HTLV-positive people, and patients with primary thrombocytosis and other-than-low-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Among some of these groups there were significant differences in the prevalence of HTLV-I versus HTLV-II. The eight HTLV-positive NHL patients all had mature, high-grade, CD4+ T-cell lymphomas with clonally integrated HTLV-I, for a prevalence of 4% among other-than-low-grade NHL patients. Seven of the eight died from their disease within 2 years despite treatment. Interestingly, two groups at risk for HTLV infection, namely needle stick victims and recipients of HTLV-infected and/or pooled plasma products, showed no evidence for infection. Significantly increased HIV-1 prevalence was observed among paid blood donors, African Americans, homosexuals, female prostitutes, hemophiliacs, and other-than-low-grade NHL patients. Only one patient was infected with HIV-2. Of the nine HIV-positive, other-than-low-grade NHL patients, seven HIV-1 positives had B-cell lymphomas, one HIV-1 positive had an HTLV-I-positive CD4+ T-cell lymphoma, and one infected with HIV-2 had a CD4+ T-cell lymphoma that was HTLV negative. The data indicate that HTLV-I lymphoma, while uncommon, is not necessarily rare among other-than-low-grade NHL cases in the United States and, given its poor prognosis, should probably be studied separately in clinical trials. (C) 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of hematology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2001


  • Blood donors
  • Human T-cell leukemia lymphoma
  • Needle stick victims
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Recipients of blood products
  • Virus types I and II


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