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Elevated Serum Levels of Soluble Tac Peptide in Adult T-Cell Leukemia: Correlation with Clinical Status during Chemotherapy

Luisa Marcon, MD; Laurence A. Rubin, MD; Carole C. Kurman, BS; Mary Elizabeth Fritz, BS; Dan L. Longo, MD; Takashi Uchiyama, MD; Brenda K. Edwards, PhD; and David L. Nelson, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

Requests for Reprints: Luisa Marcon, MD, Immunophysiology Section, Metabolism Branch, NCI, Bldg. 10, Rm. 4N112, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Marcon, Rubin, Nelson, Ms. Kurman, and Ms. Fritz: Immunophysiology Section, Metabolism Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892. Dr. Longo: Medicine Branch and Biological Response Modifiers Program, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.

Dr. Uchiyama: First Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.

Dr. Edwards: Surveillance and Operations Research Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


©1988 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1988;109(4):274-279. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-109-4-274
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Adult T-cell leukemia associated with human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I) is characterized by a clonal expansion of a CD4-positive subset of T lymphocytes that constitutively express high numbers of interleukin-2 receptors and that frequently infiltrate the skin; osteolytic bone lesions; and hypercalcemia. Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test, we measured the level of soluble Tac peptide, one chain of the human interleukin-2 receptor, in the serum of 50 patients with adult T-cell leukemia (38 Japanese and 12 American patients), 8 patients with other hematologic malignancies, 8 asymptomatic HTLV-I-antibody-positive carriers, and 17 normal controls. The serum level of soluble Tac peptide (geometric mean U/mL, 95% CI) was elevated at presentation in all patients with adult T-cell leukemia (16 461; 819 to 330 896) when compared with normal controls (238; 112 to 502), patients with other hematologic malignancies (1302; 475 to 3569), and healthy HTLV-I antibody-positive carriers (490; 115 to 2086). The highest levels were seen in patients (n = 33) with acute (32 154; 2587 to 399 598) compared with chronic (5464; 661 to 45 156) disease (n = 14). Serum levels of Tac peptide also tended to be more elevated in patients with adult T-cell leukemia with hypercalcemia (32 072; 2461 to 417 908) compared with normocalcemic patients (13 885; 496 to 388 436). Serial measurements of soluble Tac peptide levels in serum were done in four patients with adult T-cell leukemia during chemotherapy and the levels reflected disease activity. These observations suggest that the measurement of soluble Tac peptide levels in patients with adult T-cell leukemia is useful as a noninvasive measure of tumor burden and will help in the diagnosis of the disease and management of these patients.

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