Mycosis fungoides (MF) is a rare form of cutaneous T cell lymphoma suspected of having a viral etiology. As in adult T cell leukemia, the virus involved may be human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). We cultured the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of 29 patients with MF HTLV-1 seronegative by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot. The presence of reverse transcriptase (RT) and p24 antigen was investigated in the concentrate supernatant of the culture. The DNA of all studied patients was submitted to polymerase chain reaction and Southern blot analysis using primers and probes recognizing the tax region of HTLV-1/2 and the pol region of HTLV-1. 10 of 29 patients were found positive to HTLV-1, whereas they were always negative to RT and p24. The same results were confirmed in double blind after 6 mo. Our findings suggest HTLV-1 may be involved in the etiology of MF, at least in certain cases.

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