There have been few longitudinal studies on the long-term health effects of human T-lymphotropic virus type-I (HTLV-I) infection. The authors performed a cohort study of HTLV-I infection and cause-specific mortality in 3,090 atomic-bomb survivors in Nagasaki, Japan, who were followed from 1985-1987 to 1995. The prevalence of HTLV-I seropositivity in men and women was 99/1,196 (8.3%) and 171/1,894 (9.0%), respectively. During a median follow-up of 8.9 years, 448 deaths occurred. There was one nonfatal case of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (incidence rate=0.46 cases/ 1,000 person-years; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.01-2.6). After adjustment for sex, age and other potential confounders, significantly increased risk among HTLV-I carriers was observed for deaths from all causes (rate ratio [RR]=1.41), all cancers (RR=1.64), liver cancer (RR=3.04), and heart diseases (RR=2.22). The association of anti-HTLV-I seropositivity with mortality from all non-neoplastic diseases (RR= 1.40) and chr
onic liver diseases (RR=5.03 ) was of borderline significance. Possible confounding by blood transfusions and hepatitis C/B (HCV/HBV) viral infections could not be precluded in this study. However, even after liver cancer and chronic liver diseases were excluded, mortality rate was still increased among HTLV-I carriers (RR=1.32, 95% CI 0.99-1.78), especially among those with high antibody titers (RR=1.56, 95% CI 0.99-2.46, P for trend=0.04). These findings may support the idea that HTLV-I infection exerts adverse effects on mortality from causes other than adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma. Further studies on confounding by HCV/HBV infections and the interaction between HCV/HBV and HTLV-I may be required to analyze the increased mortality from liver cancer and chronic liver diseases.
(2) Evaluation of adult T-cell Leukemia/lymphoma incidence and its impact on non-Hodgkin's lymphoma incidence in southwestern Japan
The incidence of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) and its impact on that of total non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) were evaluated in Nagasaki, a human T-cell lymphotropic virus type-I (HTLV-I) endemic area in southwestern Japan. The first study area consisted of four towns located on the K-Islands, which had a population of 26,870 in 1990. The overall HTLV-I seroprevalence estimated from the serologic survey of 18,485 subjects was 16.2%. By using the data from the Nagasaki Prefectural Cancer Registry (NPCR) and reviewing clinical and laboratory information, the authors identified 40 cases of ATL and 35 cases of other NHL diagnosed during 1985-1995. The crude annual incidence of ATL among 100,000 HTLV-I carriers aged 30 or older was estimated at 137.7 for men and 57.4 for women, with a significant sex difference after adjustment for age (rate ratio=2.50, 95% confidence interval 1.32-4.73 ). The cumulative risk from 30 to 79 years of age was estimated at approximately 6.6% for men and 2.1% for women. Among the entire population, ATL accounted for 51-59% of the total NHL incidence, showing the strong impact of HTLV-I infection. The second study area consisted of the whole of Nagasaki Prefecture (total population in 1990=1.56 million). Between 1985 and 1995, 989 cases of ATL and 1,745 cases of other NHL were registered in the NPCR. The world age-standardized annual incidence rate of ATL per 100,000 persons aged 30 or older was estimated at 10.5 for men and 6.0 for women, which accounted for approximately 37-41% of the total NHL incidence. Less