Objective: AIDS frequently associates with certain malignancies, including Kaposi's sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), and anogenital neoplasia. In this study we aimed to define the frequency of infection by human herpesvirus (HHV)-8 throughout the spectrum of AIDS-related neoplasia in Europe.
Design: A tumour panel representative of the distinct types of AIDS-related neoplasms was tested for the presence of HHV-8 DNA sequences. Autologous uninvolved tissues were also tested in selected cases.
Methods: The presence of HHV-8 DNA sequences was assayed by a combination of polymerase chain reaction followed by oligohybridization and Southern blot hybridization of genomic DNA with an HHV-8-specific probe.
Results: HHV-8 sequences were detected in 100% of AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma (all 35 cases). Among AIDS-related NHL, HHV-8 sequences selectively clustered with body-cavity-based lymphomas (BCBL; all three cases), although they were consistently negative in small non-cleaved cell lymphomas (none in 18 cases), diffuse large cell lymphomas (none in seven), or anaplastic large cell lymphomas (none in three). No HHV-8 sequences were found in cases of anogenital neoplasia (out of 14) or Hodgkin's disease (out of three). HHV-8 DNA sequences were also positive in the uninvolved skin of all six AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma patients, but not in the circulating lymphocytes of a BCBL patient. Positivity for HHV-8 sequences occurred in patients belonging to all major AIDS risk categories.
Conclusions: These data confirm that HHV-8 sequences associate at high frequency with selected types of AIDS-related neoplasia, namely Kaposi's sarcoma and BCBL, although they are consistently absent in other types of AIDS-NHL and AIDS-related anogenital neoplasia.