Benign and malignant smooth muscle tumors containing Epstein-Barr virus in children with AIDS

Leuk Lymphoma. 1997 Oct;27(3-4):303-14. doi: 10.3109/10428199709059684.


Smooth muscle tumors (leiomyosarcomas) are the second most prevalent malignancy of children with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). We have investigated the tumors, plasma, and peripheral white blood cells of eight children with AIDS with smooth muscle tumors for evidence of tumor association with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Very low levels of HIV were found in the tumors of the AIDS patients, probably resulting from blood-borne carriage of virus. These smooth muscle tumors had very high quantities of EBV in all the tumor cells by in situ hybridization, with an average of 4.5 EBV genomes per cell by quantitative polymerase chain reaction amplification. Increased amounts of EBV were found in the peripheral blood cells of two AIDS patients before the time of tumor diagnosis. EBV clonality studies demonstrated different monoclonal EBV infection of two separate colonic tumors from one patient, and dual or mixed monoclonal EBV infection in another patient. The muscle cells of leiomyomas and leiomyosarcomas of patients with AIDS demonstrated prominent staining with antibodies to the EBV receptor. The uniform distribution and striking amount of EBV in the tumor cells demonstrates that EBV is capable of infecting smooth muscle cells and that these cells support EBV replication. Clonal EBV proliferation suggests that EBV infection occurs at an early stage of tumor development. These findings indicate that EBV has a causal role in the oncogenesis of leiomyosarcomas of patients with AIDS.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / virology*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Female
  • HIV Core Protein p24 / blood
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Leiomyoma / virology
  • Leiomyosarcoma / virology*
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Serologic Tests


  • HIV Core Protein p24