Drug sensitivity patterns of HHV8 carrying body cavity lymphoma cell lines

BMC Cancer. 2011 Oct 12:11:441. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-11-441.


Background: Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is a rare KSHV/HHV8-associated high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) of B-cell origin, characterized by serous effusions in body cavities. Most patients are HIV-infected men with severe immunosuppression and other HHV8-associated diseases such as Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). The prognosis for those infected is poor, with a median survival of less than 6 months in most cohorts. Sustained complete remission is rare. High-dose chemotherapy regimens are used to improve remission rate and survival. The aim of the present study was to compare the drug sensitivity pattern of the available primary effusion (body cavity based) lymphoma-derived cell lines in order to find additional, potentially effective drugs that are not included in current chemotherapy treatment protocols.

Methods: We have analyzed 11 cell lines against 27 frequently used cytostatic drugs in short term (3 days) survival assays using automated high throughput confocal microscopy.

Results: All cell lines showed a distinct, individual drug sensitivity pattern. Considering the in vitro used and clinically achieved drug concentration, Vinorelbine, Paclitaxel, Epirubicin and Daunorubicin were the most effective drugs.

Conclusions: We suggest that inclusion of the above drugs into PEL chemotherapy protocols may be justified. The heterogeneity in the drug response pattern however indicated that assay-guided individualized therapy might be required to optimize therapeutic response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • Herpesviridae Infections / complications
  • Herpesvirus 8, Human*
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Primary Effusion / drug therapy*
  • Lymphoma, Primary Effusion / virology*
  • Male


  • Antineoplastic Agents