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Diagn Mol Pathol. 2001 Jun;10(2):95-9.

Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus/human herpesvirus 8 and multiple myeloma in South Africa.

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  • 1Haematology Unit, Department of Medicine, Chris Hani Baragwanth Hospital, Soweto, South Africa.


Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus/human herpesvirus 8 (KSHV/HHV-8) has been implicated in the etiopathogenesis of multiple myeloma. Although the association is biologically plausible and attractive, conflicting data have been reported, including evidence against the involvement of KSHV in the pathogenesis of the disease. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between KSHV and myeloma in blacks in South Africa, in whom the disease is not uncommon and the seroprevalence of KSHV is higher than in the areas in which this association has been documented. Using a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, the authors initially tested for the presence of KSHV DNA sequences (KS330(233)) in bone marrow aspirates, bone marrow biopsy material, and cultured bone marrow adherent cell samples of patients with myeloma. KSHV DNA sequences were detected in 4 of 10 (40%) of the adherent cell cultures and 1 of 20 (5%) of the bone marrow aspirate samples. None of the bone marrow biopsy samples (0/9) or control bone marrow aspirate samples (0/19) was positive. To confirm the positive results in the bone marrow cultures noted above and to exclude contamination, the procedure was repeated in a further 7 patients with myeloma and 11 controls with lymphoproliferative disorders using the same nested PCR assay. In addition, the authors used a different set of primers that recognize sequences internal to the 233-bp fragment to yield a final product of 186 bp. The authors were unable to detect any KSHV DNA sequences in the patients with myeloma (0/7) or the control patients with other lymphoproliferative disorders (0/11). Taken together, the finding of a positive result in 4 of 17 patients (23.5%), which is similar to the background seroprevalence rate, does not support a clear association between myeloma and KSHV in blacks in South Africa.

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