Human herpesvirus-8 in lymphomatous and nonlymphomatous body cavity effusions developing in Kaposi's sarcoma and multicentric Castleman's disease

Valeria Ascoli, Maria C. Sirianni, Ivano Mezzaroma, Claudio M. Mastroianni, Vincenzo Vullo, Massimo Andreoni, Pasquale Narciso, Caterina Carnovale Scalzo, Francesco Nardi, Alessandra Pistilli, Francesco Lo Coco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) has been associated with Kaposi's sarcoma, multicentric Castleman's disease and primary effusion lymphoma. Kaposi's sarcoma and multicentric Castleman's disease patients may develop body cavity effusions that, unlike primary effusion lymphoma, are poorly characterized. To better define these effusions, pleural and peritoneal fluids derived from 12 human immunodeficiency virus-seropositive and one seronegative patients affected by Kaposi's sarcoma or multicentric Castleman's disease were analyzed by a combination of morphologic, immunophenotypic, and DNA analyses, including polymerase chain reaction amplification of HHV-8, Epstein-Barr virus, and immunoglobulin heavy-chain (IgH) gene sequences. In addition, HHV-8 serologic status was assessed by using an immunofluorescence assay. All patients were adult men with high antibody titers to HHV-8; 11 of the 13 patients were homosexual/bisexual. Effusions revealed monocyte/macrophage-rich infiltration (10 patients) or large-cell lymphoma with CD45+/non-T/non-B phenotype (three of 13 patients); polymerase chain reaction analysis showed the presence of HHV-8 sequences (nine of 13 patients), germline IgH (seven of 12 patients) or clonal IgH rearrangements (four of 12 patients), and rarely Epstein-Barr virus sequences (two of 12 patients). In the setting of HHV-8 infection, two effusion types may occur. One fulfills the criteria for HHV-8-positive PEL (lymphoma-morphology, HHV-8-DNA+, IgH rearrangement). The other seems more reminiscent of an HHV-8-associated nonneoplastic process (monocyte-macrophage morphology, HHV-8-DNA+/-, germline IgH). Interestingly, a single case of the latter effusion type harbored a B-cell monoclonal proliferation, which suggests the hypothesis that a prelymphomatous effusion may precede overt body cavity lymphoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-363
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Diagnostic Pathology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Body cavity effusions
  • Human herpesvirus-8
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • Multicentric Castleman's disease
  • Primary effusion lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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