Human herpesvirus 8 DNA in the skin and blood of patients with Mediterranean Kaposi's sarcoma: Clinical correlations

Vinicio Boneschi, Lucia Brambilla, Emilio Berti, Silvia Ferrucci, Mario Corbellino, Carlo Parravicini, Silvia Fossati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Kaposi's sarcoma is a multifocal lympho-angioproliferative disease that appears in elderly subjects of Mediterranean origin (classical form), young Africans and immunodepressed patients (as a result of organ transplantation or AIDS). In 1994, DNA sequences of a new human herpesvirus, called HHV-8, were detected in skin lesions and peripheral blood of patients with AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma by confirmational display analysis and polymerase chain reaction. Objective: As HHV-8 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells is detected in about 50% of Mediterranean Kaposi's sarcoma patients and its presence fluctuates in time in the same patient, maybe its detection correlates with the clinical behaviour of the disease. Methods: By using routine and nested polymerase chain reaction we evaluated the presence of HHV-8-specific DNA sequences in the skin lesions, perilesional healthy skin and peripheral blood mononuclear cells of a group of 40 HIV-negative patients with Mediterranean Kaposi's sarcoma. Results: HHV-8 DNA sequences have been found in 40/40 (100%) lesional skin of Mediterranean Kaposi's sarcoma, in 35/40 (85%) perilesional apparently normal skin and in 24/40 (60%) peripheral blood monuclear cell samples. The results of polymerase chain reaction on peripheral blood monuclear cells were positive in 41% of the patients with slowly evolving disease as opposed to 74% of those with rapidly evolving disease, and in 47.6% of the patients with stage I-II disease as opposed to 73.6% of those with stage III-IV. Conclusion: The detection of HHV-8 in peripheral blood monuclear cells seems to correlate with the more aggressive stages and the rapid evolution behaviour of Mediterranean Kaposi's sarcoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-23
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Clinical behaviour
  • Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8)
  • Kaposi's sarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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