Human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the etiological agent of adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL), HTLV-1 associated myelopathy (HAM/TSP), and of a number of inflammatory diseases with an estimated 10-20 million infected individuals worldwide. Despite a number of therapeutic approaches, a cure for ATL is still in its infancy. Conventional chemotherapy has short-term efficacy, particularly in the acute subtype. Allogeneic stem cell transplantation offers long-term disease control to around one third of transplanted patients, but few can reach to transplant. This prompted, over the past recent years, the conduction of a number of clinical trials using novel treatments. Meanwhile, new data have been accumulated on biological and molecular bases of HTLV-1 transforming and infecting activity. These data offer new rational for targeted therapies of ATL. Taking into account the double-face of ATL as an hematologic malignancy as well as a viral infectious disease, this Mini-Review seeks to provide an up-to-date overview of recent efforts in the understanding of the mechanisms involved in already used therapeutic regimens showing promising results, and in selecting novel drug targets for ATL.