Relative seroprevalence of human herpes viruses in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

Eur J Clin Invest. 2009 Jun;39(6):497-506. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2362.2009.02131.x.


Background: Herpes virus infections may have a significant role in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) due to their ability to modulate the host's immune system.

Materials and methods: We examined the seroprevalence of four herpes viruses [Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), human herpes virus (HHV)-6 and -7] in a cohort of European CLL patients (cohort 1, n = 100) in relation to the immunoglobulin variable heavy (IGHV) chain gene use and compared serological results with those obtained from age- and gender-matched healthy adults (n = 100).

Results: CMV-seroprevalence was significantly higher in CLL cohort 1 (79%) than in the control cohort (57%, P = 0.001); the seroprevalence of EBV (89% vs. 94%), HHV-6 (73% vs. 60%), or HHV-7 (35% vs. 35%) was not. In CLL cohort 1, use of IGHV3-30 was more prevalent among CMV-seropositive and of IGHV3-21 among HHV-7-seronegative cases. To investigate the generalizability of these findings, we investigated the herpes virus seroprevalence in a second cohort of age-matched CLL patients from a different geographical area (USA, n = 100, cohort 2). In cohort 2, CMV-seroprevalence was comparable with that of the control cohort (53%). Seroprevalence of EBV, HHV-6 and HHV-7 were 85%, 88% and 73% respectively. In CLL cohort 2, use of IGHV3-30 or IGHV3-21 was not associated with any of the herpes viruses investigated.

Conclusions: CMV-seropositivity is associated with CLL in selected patient cohorts. However, the considerable variation in herpes virus-specific seropositivity between geographically distinct CLL cohorts indicates that seropositivity for any of the four human herpes viruses investigated is not generally associated with CLL.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology*
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / epidemiology
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / immunology*
  • Female
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin Heavy Chain / immunology
  • Herpesviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Herpesviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / epidemiology
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies