Human herpesvirus 8 seropositivity and risk of Kaposi's sarcoma and other acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related diseases

Giovanni Rezza, Massimo Andreoni, Maria Dorrucci, Patrizio Pezzotti, Paolo Monini, Roberto Zerboni, Benardino Salassa, Vincenzo Colangeli, Loredana Sarmati, Emanuele Nicastri, Mauro Barbanera, Raffaele Pristerà, Fernando Aiuti, Luigi Ortona, Barbara Ensoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The incidence of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is increased severalfold in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV). Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) has also been implicated in KS. We investigated several factors that may determine the onset of KS, particularly HHV8 infection in individuals after becoming seropositive for HIV. Methods: We studied 366 individuals belonging to different HIV-exposure categories (i.e., homosexual activity, intravenous drug use, and heterosexual contact) for whom a negative HIV serologic test and then a positive HIV serologic test were available within a 2-year period. HHV8 antibody testing was performed by use of an immunofluorescence assay on the first serum sample available after the first positive HIV test. Actuarial rates of progression of KS and of other acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-defining diseases were estimated by use of time-to-event statistical methods. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results: Twenty-one of the 366 study participants developed AIDS-related KS, and 83 developed AIDS without KS. One hundred forty (38.3%) participants had detectable anti-HHV8 antibodies. The actuarial progression rate to KS among persons co-infected with HIV/HHV8 was nearly 30% by 10 years after HIV seroconversion. Increasing HHV8 antibody titers increased the risk of developing KS (for seronegative versus highest titer [1:125 serum dilution], adjusted relative hazard [RH] = 51.82; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 6.08-441.33) but not of other AIDS-defining diseases (adjusted RH = 1.14; 95% CI = 0.72-1.80). HHV8-seropositive homosexual men compared with HHV8-seropositive participants from other HIV-exposure categories showed an increased risk of KS that approached statistical significance (adjusted RH = 6.93; 95% CI = 0.88-54.84). Conclusions: Approximately one third of individuals coinfected with HIV/HHV8 developed KS within 10 years after HIV seroconversion. Progression to KS increased with time after HIV seroconversion. Higher antibody titers to HHV8 appear to be related to faster progression to KS but not to other AIDS-defining diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1468-1474
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Human herpesvirus 8 seropositivity and risk of Kaposi's sarcoma and other acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related diseases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this