Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus

Adv Cancer Res. 1998;75:57-86. doi: 10.1016/s0065-230x(08)60739-3.


Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a vascular tumor predominantly found in the immunosuppressed. Epidemiologic studies suggest that an infective agent is the etiologic culprit. Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), or human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8), is a gamma human herpesvirus present in all epidemiologic forms of KS and also in a rare type of a B cell lymphoma, primary effusion lymphoma (PEL). In addition, this virus is present in most biopsies from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated multicentric Castleman's disease (MCD). MCD is a lymphoproliferative disorder with, like KS, a prominent microvasculature. The genome of KSHV contains the expected open reading frames (ORFs) encoding for enzymes and viral structural proteins found in other herpesviruses, but it also contains an unprecedented number of ORFs pirated during viral evolution from cellular genes. These include proteins that may alter cellular growth (e.g., Bcl-2 and cyclin homologs), induce angiogenesis (e.g., chemokine, chemokine receptor, and cytokine homologs), and regulate antiviral immunity (e.g., CD21 and interferon regulatory factor homologs). No ORF with sequence similarity to the Epstein-Barr nuclear antigens (EBNAs) and latent membrane proteins (LMPs) of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is present, but proteins analogous to these in structure and in latent expression are found [e.g., ORF 73 encoding for KSHV latent nuclear antigen (LNA-1) and K12 encoding for a possible latent membrane protein]. Current serologic assays confirm the strong association of infection with KSHV and risk of KS development. The mechanism of how this new virus may trigger the precipitation of KS is still unclear.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Eukaryotic Cells / virology
  • Genome, Viral
  • Herpesvirus 8, Human / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 8, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / virology
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Transduction, Genetic


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I