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Int J Cancer. 1996 Jan 3;65(1):25-8.

Herpesvirus-like DNA sequences detected in endemic, classic, iatrogenic and epidemic Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) biopsies.

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Istituto Nazionale Tumori Fond. Pascale, Naples, Italy.


The identification of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) clusters in sub-equatorial Africa (endemic KS, AKS) and the high frequency of KS in sexually transmitted AIDS (epidemic KS, EKS), have previously suggested a role for infectious agents in the etiopathogenesis of KS. The recent identification of herpesvirus (HHV)-like DNA sequences in one case of EKS and their detection in > 90% of all tested EKS, prompted us to determine the prevalence of these viral sequences in all types of KS, such as AKS, EKS, classic KS (CKS) and iatrogenic KS (IKS). The presence of herpesvirus(HHV)-like DNA sequences has been examined in 61 KS skin tumors obtained from Greece, Italy, USA, Uganda and Kenya. All KS types (100%) were positive by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Southern-blot analysis, while 5 out of 6 (83%) and 4 out of 7 (57%) uninvolved autologous skin biopsies from AKS and CKS patients, respectively, were positive for HHV-like sequences. All samples from non-KS patients were negative, i.e. 17 human biopsies from healthy individuals or patients affected by other pathologies, 5 human cell lines and 15 peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from HIV-positive subjects. These results suggest that HHV-like sequences play a major role in the pathogenesis of this neoplasm.

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