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Leukemia. 1997 Feb;11(2):266-72.

Human herpes virus 8 (Kaposi's sarcoma herpes virus) and malignant lymphoproliferations in France: a molecular study of 250 cases including two AIDS-associated body cavity based lymphomas.

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Unité d'Epidémiologie des Virus Oncogènes, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


The new human herpes virus 8 (HHV8) was recently detected in cases of body cavity based lymphoma (BCBL), a rare B cell lymphoma, mostly AIDS-associated. We investigated for HHV8 DNA sequences a series of 250 B or T cell lymphoproliferative malignancies, as seen in France, including 126 leukemias and 124 lymphomas (232 non-AIDS-associated and 18 AIDS-associated tumors). HHV8 sequences were detected in only three patients. The first two were homosexual males, HIV-infected since 1985 who suffered from a BCBL initially characterized in one case by a pleural lymphomatous effusion and a peritoneal one in the other case. A high level of HHV8 copies was detected in the tumoral cells of these two BCBL. In contrast, in the third positive patient who had an AIDS-associated immunoblastic lymphoma, the HHV8 sequences level was quite low. In the two BCBL patients, the HHV8-infected clonal B cells had a large immunoblastic feature with an indeterminate phenotype and were also infected by Epstein-Barr virus. In one BCBL case, a semiquantitative PCR analysis revealed that the HHV8 sequences were much more abundant in the effusion tumor cells than in the cutaneous Kaposi's biopsy while no HHV8 sequence was detectable in the peripheral blood lymphocytes. This study reports HHV8-associated BCBL in European AIDS patients and confirms that HHV8 is present at a high copy number in the tumoral B cells of this malignancy. Furthermore, HHV8 does not seem to play a pathogenic role in any of the other T or B malignant lymphoid neoplasias studied so far. This study also stresses the necessity for quantification studies in interpretation of a positive PCR analysis for HHV8 sequences, especially in patients at risk for HIV infection or Kaposi's sarcoma.

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