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Margaret Mead
Case Report

Ocular manifestations and pathology of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma associated with human T-lymphotropic virus type 1


The human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), endemic in defined geographical areas around the world, is recognized as the etiologic agent of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL), or HTLV-1. ATL is a rare adult onset T-cell malignancy that is characterized by the presence of ATL flower cells with T-cell markers, HTLV-1 antibodies in the serum, and monoclonal integration of HTLV-1 provirus in affected cells. Ocular manifestations associated with HTLV-1 virus infection have been reported and include HTLV-1 uveitis and keratoconjunctivitis sicca, but reports of ocular involvement in ATL are exceedingly rare. This article describes the ocular manifestations and pathology of ATL. We also report for the first time a case of a 34-year-old male with systemic ATL and prominent atypical lymphoid cell infiltration in the choroid. To our knowledge, this is the first report defining prominent choroidal involvement as a distinct ocular manifestation of ATL. ATL may masquerade as a variety of other conditions, and molecular techniques involving microdissection and PCR have proven to be critical diagnostic tools. International collaboration will be needed to better understand the presentation and diagnosis of this rare malignancy.