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Arch Dermatol. 1998 Jun;134(6):695-9.

Human herpesvirus 8 in Italian HIV-seronegative patients with Kaposi sarcoma.

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Institute of Microbiology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.



To evaluate the prevalence of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) DNA detection in a large series of human immunodeficiency virus-seronegative patients with and without Kaposi sarcoma (KS) from the central and southern regions of Italy where classic KS is prevalent.


Samples of lesional, peripheral unaffected, and distant normal skin and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 33 patients with KS and PBMCs from 42 control subjects were analyzed using single and nested polymerase chain reaction techniques for the presence of HHV-8 DNA.


A total of 33 patients with KS not related to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (26 patients with classic KS and 7 patients with iatrogenic KS) were studied. Furthermore, 2 control groups were enrolled. The first group consisted of 13 healthy volunteers, the second of 29 patients affected by different dermatological diseases.


Human herpesvirus 8 sequences were found in 100% of lesional and perilesional specimens, in 33% of the distant normal skin samples, and in 69.6% of the PBMCs from patients with KS. A possible correlation between HHV-8 DNA in PBMCs and the clinical stage of the disease was observed. Moreover, the prevalence of viral DNA in PBMCs from the total control group was 23.8%. No viral DNA was detected in tissue biopsy specimens taken from the control group.


Our data suggest that HHV-8 could be a widespread virus, at least in Mediterranean regions where KS is more prevalent, such as southern and central Italy. As with other herpesviruses, it may be present lifelong in latent form somewhere in the body and may contribute to the pathogenesis of KS when other predisposing conditions are present.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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