Adult T-cell leukemia pathophysiology

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Haytham Allaham, M.D. [2]

Overview

Adult T‐cell leukemia arises from post‐thymic lymphocytes, which are normally involved in the process of cell-mediated immune response.[1][2][3][4][5] Development of adult T-cell leukemia is the result of multiple genetic mutations induced by an infection with human T‐cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV). On gross pathology, skin nodules, maculopapular eruption, and erythema are characteristic skin findings of adult T-cell leukemia. On microscopic histopathological analysis, characteristic findings of adult T-cell leukemia include pleomorphic, medium sized lymphocytes with a polylobated nucleus and agranular cytoplasm.

Pathogenesis

  • Adult T‐cell leukemia arises from post‐thymic lymphocytes, which are normally involved in the process of cell-mediated immune response.[1][2][3][4][5]
  • Adult T‐cell leukemia is mainly caused by an infection with human T‐cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV).
  • HTLV is usually transmitted via breast feeding early in life.
  • Other minor routes of transmission for HTLV may include sexual contact, exposure to contaminated blood, or vertical maternal transmission.
  • There appears to be a long latent period between HTLV-1 infection and the development of adult T‐cell leukemia.
  • The oncogenesis of HTLV infection, which results in the development of adult T-cell leukemia, is due to:
  • Adult T‐cell leukemia can manifests as either a leukemic form (75% of the cases) or a pure lymphomatous form (25% of the cases).
  • Adult T‐cell leukemia is a widely disseminated disease which may involve the peripheral blood cells, bone marrow, lymph nodes, liver, spleen, skin, and CNS.
  • Haematopathological features of adult T-cell leukemia are variable, which may include:
  • Patchy bone marrow infiltration among adult T-cell leukemia patients may result in:
  • Hypercalcemia among adult T-cell leukemia patients has been associated with elevated serum concentrations of:
  • Infiltration of malignant leukemic cells results in the expansion of the lymph nodes paracortical region, which may lead to the development of peripheral lymphadenopathy among adult T-cell leukemia patients.
  • Infiltration of the liver and spleen may lead to the development of organomegally among adult T-cell leukemia patients.
  • Cutaneous manifestations of adult T-cell leukemia is due to the infiltration of leukmeic cells along the dermis layer of the skin.
  • Cutaneous Pautrier's microabcesses formation (due to epidermotropism) may also be present among adult T-cell leukemia patients. These cutaneous lesions are indistinguishable from the ones found in Sézary syndrome and mycosis fungoides.
  • Immune deficiency occurs in adult T-cell leukemia due to a defective cell-mediated immunity.

Genetic

  • Genes involved in the pathogenesis of adult T-cell leukemia include:

Gross Pathology

Mircoscopic Pathology

  • On microscopic histopathological analysis, characteristic findings of adult T-cell leukemia include:
  • On immunohistochemical analysis, characteristic findings of adult T-cell leukemia include:

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Matutes E (2007). "Adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma". J. Clin. Pathol. 60 (12): 1373–7. PMC 2095573Freely accessible. PMID 18042693. doi:10.1136/jcp.2007.052456. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma. Wikipedia (2015) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adult_T-cell_leukemia/lymphoma Accessed on November, 3 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Human T-lymphotropic virus. Wikipedia (2015) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_T-lymphotropic_virus#Transmission Accessed on November, 3 2015
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Lymphoma. Libre Pathology (2015) http://librepathology.org/wiki/index.php/Lymphoma#Adult_T-cell_leukemia.2Flymphoma Accessed on November, 3 2015
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Adult T-cell Leukemia. PathologyOutlines (2015) http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/lymphomanonBatlv.html Accessed on November, 3 2015
  6. Pezeshkpoor F, Yazdanpanah MJ, Shirdel A (2008). "Specific cutaneous manifestations in adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma.". Int J Dermatol. 47 (4): 359–62. PMID 18377598. doi:10.1111/j.1365-4632.2008.03526.x. 

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