Two lymphotropic human gamma herpesviruses can cause lymphoproliferative disorders: Epstein Barr virus (EBV, formally designated as human herpesvirus 4) and Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV, also called human herpesvirus 8). Individuals with inherited or acquired immunodeficiency have a greatly increased risk of developing a malignancy caused by one of these two viruses. Specific types of lymphoproliferations, including malignant lymphomas, occur in individuals with HIV infection, transplant recipients and children with primary immunodeficiency. Some of these diseases, such as Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin lymphoma resemble those occurring in immunocompetent patients, but the proportion of tumors in which EBV is present is increased. Others, like primary effusion lymphoma and polymorphic post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder are rarely seen outside the context of a specific immunodeficient state. Understanding the specific viral associations in selected lymphoproliferative disorders, and the insights into the molecular mechanisms of viral oncogenesis, will lead to better treatments for these frequently devastating diseases.
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