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Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 7;6:22730. doi: 10.1038/srep22730.

HHV-8-unrelated primary effusion-like lymphoma associated with clonal loss of inherited chromosomally-integrated human herpesvirus-6A from the telomere of chromosome 19q.

Author information

Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK.
MRC - University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, Glasgow G61 1QH, UK.
Cytogenetics Laboratory, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, London, NW3 2PF, UK.
Institute of Human Genetics, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel &University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Schwanenweg 24, D-24105 Kiel, Germany.
Ernest and Helen Scott Haematological Research Institute, Department of Cancer Studies, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK.


Primary effusion lymphomas (PEL) are associated with human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) and usually occur in immunocompromised individuals. However, there are numerous reports of HHV-8-unrelated PEL-like lymphomas with unknown aetiology. Here we characterize an HHV-8-unrelated PEL-like lymphoma in an elderly woman who was negative for human immunodeficiency viruses 1 and 2, and hepatitis B and C. The woman was, however, a carrier of an inherited-chromosomally-integrated human herpesvirus-6A (iciHHV-6A) genome in one 19q telomere. The iciHHV-6A genome was complete in blood DNA, encoding a full set of protein-coding genes. Interestingly, the entire iciHHV-6A genome was absent from the HHV-8-unrelated-PEL-like lymphoma cells despite retention of both copies of chromosome 19. The somatic loss of the 19q-iciHHV-6A genome occurred very early during lymphoma development and we propose it occurred via telomere-loop formation and excision to release a circular viral genome that was subsequently lost. Whether release of the HHV-6A genome from the telomere contributed to lymphomagenesis, or was coincidental, remains unclear but this event may have deregulated the expression of HHV-6A or 19q genes or else disrupted telomere function. To establish the frequency and importance of iciHHV-6 loss from telomeres, the HHV-6 copy number should be assessed in tumours that arise in iciHHV-6 carriers.

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