Human T-cell leukemia virus has been linked with adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma (ATLL), a tumor of mature T cells that occurs at elevated rates in southwestern Japan and in the Caribbean Basin. Human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV) or a closely related virus, has also been found in varying proportions of healthy individuals of several species of Old World monkeys. In the present study, conducted with macaques from Taiwan and the New England Regional Primate Research Center, antibodies to membrane antigens of HTLV-infected cells (HTLV-MA) were found in 11 of 13 macaques with malignant lymphoma or lymphoproliferative disease but in only 7 of 95 of healthy macaques. This indicates that antibodies to HTLV are significantly associated with the development of naturally occurring lymphoid neoplasms in at least some species of nonhuman primates.

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