Medical Definition of Adult T-cell leukemia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

Adult T cell leukemia-lymphoma: Abbreviated ATL. A malignancy of mature T lymphocytes (T cells) with its onset in adulthood caused by infection with the human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and characterized by circulating malignant T-lymphocytes, skin lesions, lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes), hepatosplenomegaly (enlarged liver and spleen), hypercalcemia (high blood calcium), lytic ("punched out") bone lesions, and a tendency to infection. There are four categories of ATL, based on the aggressiveness of the disease -- smoldering, chronic, lymphomatous, and acute. ATL is a variant of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

See also: Human T-lymphotropic virus.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018