Adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma with massive involvement of cardiac muscle and valves

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An autopsy case of a 58-year-old woman with massive cardiac involvement of adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) is reported. She developed cardiac failure due to aortic and mitral regurgitation with cardiac infiltration of ATLL cells, and underwent replacement of both aortic and mitral valves. Studies of the cut-surfaces revealed diffuse thickening of the subendocardial wall of the left chamber with widespread whitish-brown tumor infiltrates. In the regions surrounding the replaced aortic and mitral valves there was also massive tumor cell infiltration. The tumor cells infiltrating the cardiac muscle wall were T cell in origin and exhibited Leu-3a (CD4)-positive immunoreaction. Ultrastructurally, tumor cells contained markedly indented nuclei and some were attached directly to the muscle cells. These findings suggest that this was an unusual form of ATLL with widespread involvement of the heart.

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