Screening results for HTLV-1 and Epstein-Barr virus DNA sequences in mycosis fungoides and Sezary syndrome in Japan

Gang Wen Han, Mikio Ohtsuka, Keiji Iwatsuki, Hiroshi Harada, Fumio Kaneko

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The association of viral infection with mycosis fungoides (MF) and Sezary 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-98
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Dermatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
  • Human T cell lymphotropic virus-1 (HTLV-1)
  • Lymphoproliferative disorders
  • Mycosis fungoides (MF)
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • Sezary syndrome (SS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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