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European Journal of Dermatology

Screening results for HTLV-1 and Epstein-Barr virus DNA sequences in mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome in Japan Volume 7, issue 2, March 1997

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  • Author(s): G.-W. Han, M. Ohtsuka, K. Iwatsuki, H. Harada, F. Kaneko , Department of Dermatology, Fukushima Medical College, 1-Hikarigaoka, Fukushima 960-12, Japan.
  • Key words: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human T cell lymphotropic virus-1 (HTLV-1), lymphoproliferative disorders, mycosis fungoides (MF), polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Sézary syndrome (SS).
  • Page(s) : 95-8
  • Published in: 2000

The association of viral infection with mycosis fungoides (MF) and Sézary syndrome (SS) has recently been a popular yet controversial issue. In this study, we attempted to elucidate the relationship between human T cell lymphotropic virus type-1 (HTLV-1) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection with MF and SS in Japan, an endemic area for illnesses caused by these viruses. The presence of HTLV-1-related genes (gag, pol, pX) was screened in cutaneous lesions or peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 14 patients with classic MF, 4 with SS, 6 with adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL), and 33 with other cutaneous lymphoproliferative disorders, using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. The EBV gene was also examined in 55 patients with lymphoproliferative disorders. HTLV-1 gag, pol, and pX genes were positive in all 6 patients with ATLL, but none of them was detected in the 14 patients with MF. The HTLV-1 pol gene was found in one out of 4 patients with SS and 2 out of 13 cases with T cell lymphomas other than MF. The sequence of the PCR product was identical to the registered sequence of the HTLV-1 pol gene. In contrast, EBV DNA sequences were found in 13 out of 55 patients with cutaneous lymphoproliferative disorders, but were not found in any of 17 patients with MF and SS. Our results suggest that neither HTLV-1 nor EBV infection play a pathogenic role in classic MF and SS in Japan.