Adult T-cell lymphoma (ATL) is a rare and aggressive type of cancer that affects T cells, a type of white blood cell that plays a role in the immune system. It is caused by the human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), which is transmitted through blood transfusions, unprotected sexual contact, and from mother to child during breastfeeding.
ATL typically affects adults, with a peak incidence in the sixth decade of life. It can affect multiple organs in the body, including the skin, lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and bone marrow. The symptoms of ATL can vary depending on the organs affected and may include fever, fatigue, night sweats, skin lesions, and swollen lymph nodes.
There are four subtypes of ATL, including acute, lymphoma, chronic, and smoldering, with acute and lymphoma subtypes being more aggressive. Treatment for ATL may include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and stem cell transplantation. However, the prognosis for ATL is generally poor, with a median survival of less than one year for the acute and lymphoma subtypes.
The diagnosis of ATL is made through a combination of clinical evaluation, imaging studies, and laboratory tests, including blood tests, bone marrow biopsy, and lymph node biopsy. A thorough evaluation is necessary to determine the subtype of ATL and guide the appropriate treatment plan.