HHV-8 infection is specific for cell lines derived from primary effusion (body cavity-based) lymphomas

C. C. Uphoff, S. Habig, A. Carbone, G. Caidano, H. G. Drexler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8; or KSHV, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus) is a gamma herpes virus with sequence homology to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It was first isolated from Kaposi's sarcoma tumor cells and subsequently from tumor cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with primary effusion lymphomas (PEL; or body cavity-based lymphomas). PEL has been recognized as an individual nosologic entity based on its distinctive biological-pathological features and its consistent infection with HHV-8 (commonly, but not always co-infected with EBV), occurring predominantly in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients but occasionally also in HIV-negative cases. Whether HHV-8 sequences can be found also in non-hematopoietic tumor cells other than Kaposi's sarcoma and in malignant hematopoietic malignancies other than PEL, has been the focus of the present studies. We examined the presence of HHV-8 sequences by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using (1) a panel of 133 human cell lines established from a large variety of solid tumors; (2) a spectrum of 114 hematopoietic cell lines derived from the different cell lineages including 50 B cell leukemia/lymphoma-derived cell lines and seven cell lines established from patients with PEL. Besides the seven PEL cell lines, 46 cell lines that were derived from malignant pleural effusion or ascitic fluid material (25 non-hematopoietic and 21 hematopoietic cell lines) were examined. Except for the seven PEL cell lines that were strongly HHV-8+ in the PCR, all solid tumor cell lines and all hematopoietic cell lines scored consistently negative for the presence of HHV-8 sequences. These results confirm the absolute specificity of HHV-8 infection (within the hematopoietic malignancies) for PEL. PEL cell lines represent useful tools for the analysis of the biology of this neoplasm and of the pathogenetic role of the virus in the disease development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1806-1809
Number of pages4
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Body cavity-based lymphoma
  • EBV
  • HHV-8
  • HIV
  • Primary effusion lymphoma
  • Viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology

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