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Semin Cancer Biol. 2000 Oct;10(5):367-81.

Cytokine-mediated growth promotion of Kaposi's sarcoma and primary effusion lymphoma.

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Laboratory of Virology, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.


Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is an angioproliferative disease particularly frequent and aggressive in patients with AIDS but occurring also in post-transplant patients or in immunocompetent individuals of certain geographic areas. At least in its early stages, KS behaves as a reactive hyperplastic process mediated by inflammatory cytokines and angiogenic factors triggered or exacerbated by human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) infection. The HIV Tat protein appears to be responsible for the highly aggressive nature of AIDS-KS. Over time, however, KS may evolve into a true sarcoma in association with the expression of oncogenes and/or HHV-8 latency genes endowed with growth and anti-apoptotic properties. HHV-8 infection is also associated with primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), a rare tumor that similarly develops more frequently in the setting of HIV infection. HHV-8 latency genes are likely to contribute to the neoplastic phenotype of PEL cells, whose growth in vivo may require cytokines and factors from the host, or encoded by the virus.

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