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Transplantation. 2001 Apr 27;71(8):1120-4.

Prevalence of antibodies to human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) in Saudi Arabian patients with and without renal failure.

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Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, Connecticut 06516, USA.



Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is the most common cancer occurring in renal transplant recipients in Saudi Arabia, where the reported incidence of posttransplantation KS is 10 times higher than the incidence in the United States and Western Europe. The reason for the particularly high incidence of posttransplantation KS in this geographic area is unknown.


To explore the possibility that the high incidence of posttransplantation KS might be the result of widespread infection with human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), we determined the prevalence of antibodies to HHV-8 in 201 patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and a comparison group of 358 individuals without renal disease who were similar in age, sex, and area of residence. Antibodies to lytic cycle antigens of HHV-8 were determined by indirect immunofluorescence and confirmed by immunoblots using tetradecanoyl phorbol ester acetate-induced BC-3 cell extracts and recombinant small viral capsid antigen (ORF65).


Antibodies to HHV-8 were detected in serum samples from 14 (6.97%) of 201 ESRD patients and from 10 (3.88%) of 258 in the comparison group (P=0.14). HHV-8 seropositive individuals were on average 10 years older than seronegative subjects (55.3 years vs. 46.9 years). Among HHV-8 seropositive subjects, 71% were male and 29% were female.


Serologic evidence of HHV-8 infection was numerically more common in men and in patients with ESRD. However, among patients with and without ESRD, the strongest association was with increasing age.

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