Medical Definition of Adult T-cell leukemia

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.


Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016
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