Kaposi's sarcoma associated-herpesvirus causes all forms of Kaposi's sarcoma, and six major subtypes have been described based on the amino acid sequences of the open reading frame K1.
A 71-year-old man from China, HIV negative, presented with nodules on the dorsal aspect of his toes. Biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of Kaposi's sarcoma and virology studies of his blood and saliva confirmed the presence of Kaposi's sarcoma associated-herpesvirus infection. Viral genotyping was consistent with subtype C3. Intervention has been deferred as our patient has remained clinically asymptomatic and without evident growth of his lesions over a 2-year follow up.
We herein report the first known case of Kaposi's sarcoma restricted to the toes caused by the viral subtype C3 in an HIV-negative patient from Harbin, China.
China; KSHV; HIV; human herpesvirus-8 subtypes; Kaposi's sarcoma; viral phylogeny
Kaposi sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV) encodes 12 pre-microRNAs that yield 25 mature microRNAs. We previously reported phylogenetic analysis of the microRNA-coding region of KSHV from Kaposi sarcoma (KS), primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), and multicentric Castleman disease (MCD) patients. We observed a high level of conservation for most sequences but also a divergent cluster of 5 KSHV sequences, including 2 from MCD patients.
KSHV microRNA sequences from 23 MCD patients and 7 patients with a newly described KSHV-associated inflammatory cytokine syndrome (KICS) were examined by amplification, cloning, and sequencing of a 646-bp fragment of K12/T0.7 encoding microRNA-K12-10 and microRNA-K12-12 and a 2.8-kbp fragment containing the remaining 10 pre-microRNAs.
Phylogenetic analysis showed a distinct variant cluster consisting exclusively of MCD and KICS patients in all trees. Pearson χ2 analysis revealed that 40 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at various loci were significantly associated with MCD and KICS risk. Cluster analysis of these SNPs generated several combinations of 3 SNPs as putative indicators of MCD and KICS risk.
These findings show that MCD and KICS patients frequently have unusual KSHV microRNA sequences and suggest an association between the observed sequence variation and risk of MCD and KICS.
Alternatives to cytotoxic agents are desirable for patients with HIV-associated Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) contributes to KS pathogenesis. We evaluated the humanized anti–VEGF-A monoclonal antibody, bevacizumab, in patients with HIV-KS.
Patients and Methods
Patients with HIV-KS who either experienced progression while receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for at least 1 month or did not regress despite HAART for at least 4 months were administered bevacizumab 15 mg/kg intravenously on days 1 and 8 and then every 3 weeks. The primary objective was assessment of antitumor activity using modified AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG) criteria for HIV-KS. HIV-uninfected patients were also eligible and observed separately.
Seventeen HIV-infected patients were enrolled. Fourteen patients had been receiving effective HAART for at least 6 months (median, 1 year). Thirteen patients had advanced disease (ACTG T1), 13 patients had received prior chemotherapy for KS, and seven patients had CD4 count less than 200 cells/μL. Median number of cycles was 10 (range, 1 to 37 cycles); median follow-up was 8.3 months (range, 3 to 36 months). Of 16 assessable patients, best tumor responses observed were complete response (CR) in three patients (19%), partial response (PR) in two patients (12%), stable disease in nine patients (56%), and progressive disease in two patients (12%). Overall response rate (CR + PR) was 31% (95% CI, 11% to 58.7%). Four of five responders had received prior chemotherapy for KS. Over 202 cycles, grade 3 to 4 adverse events at least possibly attributed to therapy included hypertension (n = 7), neutropenia (n = 5), cellulitis (n = 3), and headache (n = 2).
Bevacizumab is tolerated in patients with HIV-KS and has activity in a subset of patients.
Much has been learned since the discovery of KSHV in 1994 about its epidemiology and pathology but much of what has been learned has yet to be translated into clinical practice. In this review, we survey the current state of knowledge on KSHV epidemiology and KS pathogenesis and highlight therapeutic opportunities in both the developed and developing world.
Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is the most common AIDS-defining tumour in HIV-infected individuals in Africa. Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV) infection precedes development of KS. KSHV co-infection may be associated with worse outcomes in HIV disease and elevated KSHV viral load may be an early marker for advanced HIV disease among untreated patients. We examined the prevalence of KSHV among adults initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) and compared immunological, demographic and clinical factors between patients seropositive and seronegative for KSHV.
We analyzed cross-sectional data collected from 404 HIV-infected treatment-naïve adults initiating ART at the Themba Lethu Clinic, Johannesburg, South Africa between November 2008 and March 2009. Subjects were screened at ART initiation for antibodies to KSHV lytic K8.1 and latent Orf73 antigens. Seropositivity to KSHV was defined as positive to either lytic KSHV K8.1 or latent KSHV Orf73 antibodies. KSHV viremia was determined by quantitative PCR and CD3, 4 and 8 lymphocyte counts were determined with flow cytometry. Of the 404 participants, 193 (48%) tested positive for KSHV at ART initiation; with 76 (39%) reactive to lytic K8.1, 35 (18%) to latent Orf73 and 82 (42%) to both. One individual presented with clinical KS at ART initiation. The KSHV infected group was similar to those without KSHV in terms of age, race, gender, ethnicity, smoking and alcohol use. KSHV infected individuals presented with slightly higher median CD3 (817 vs. 726 cells/mm3) and CD4 (90 vs. 80 cells/mm3) counts than KSHV negative subjects. We found no associations between KSHV seropositivity and body mass index, tuberculosis status, WHO stage, HIV RNA levels, full blood count or liver function tests at initiation. Those with detectable KSHV viremia (n = 19), however, appeared to present with signs of more advanced HIV disease including anemia and WHO stage 3 or 4 defining conditions compared to those in whom the virus was undetectable.
We demonstrate a high prevalence of KSHV among HIV-infected adults initiating ART in a large urban public-sector HIV clinic. KSHV viremia but not KSHV seropositivity may be associated with markers of advanced HIV disease.
Kaposi sarcoma; Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus; resource-poor setting; antiretroviral therapy
We recently identified polymorphisms in KSHV encoded microRNA (miRNA) sequences from clinical subjects. Here, we examine whether any of these may contribute to KS risk in a European AIDS-KS case control study.
KSHV viral load in peripheral blood was determined by real-time quantitative PCR. Samples that had detectable viral loads were used to amplify the 2.8 kbp microRNA encoding region plus a 646 bp fragment of the K12/T0.7 gene. Additionally, we characterized an 840 bp fragment of the K1 gene to determine KSHV subtypes.
KSHV viral DNA was detected in PBMC of 49.6% cases and 6.8% controls and viral loads tended to be higher in cases. Sequences from the miRNA encoding regions were conserved overall but distinct polymorphisms were detected some of which occurred in pri-miRNAs, pre-miRNAs or mature miRNAs.
Patients with Kaposi’s sarcoma were more likely to have detectable viral loads than controls without disease. Despite high conservation in KSHV miRNA encoded sequences, polymorphisms were observed including some that have been previously reported. Some polymorphisms could affect mature miRNA processing and appear to be associated with KS risk.
Immune modulation by parasites may influence susceptibility to bacteria and viruses. We examined the association between current parasite infections, HIV and syphilis (measured in blood or stool samples using standard methods) and antibodies against Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV), measured by ELISA, in 1915 stored plasma samples from pregnant women in Entebbe, Uganda.
Seroprevalence of KSHV was higher in women with malaria parasitaemia (73% vs 60% p = 0.01), hookworm (67% vs 56% p = 0.001) and Mansonella perstans (69% vs 59% p = 0.05); seroprevalence increased with increasing intensity of hookworm infection (p < 0.001[trend]). No associations were found for HIV, five other parasites or active syphilis. These effects were not explained by socioeconomic status or education.
Specific parasite infections are associated with presence of antibodies against KSHV, perhaps mediated via their effect on immune function.
Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the causal agent for Kaposi sarcoma (KS) and multicentric Castleman disease (MCD) in HIV-infected patients. Patients with KSHV-MCD develop fevers, wasting, hypoalbuminemia, cytopenias, and hyponatremia that are related to overproduction of KSHV-encoded vial interleukin (IL)-6 (vIL-6) and human IL-6.
We identified 6 HIV-infected patients with KS or serological evidence of KSHV infection who had severe inflammatory MCD-like symptoms but in whom we could not diagnose MCD, and hypothesized that these symptoms resulted from vIL-6 overproduction. Serum vIL-6 levels were assessed in these 6 patients and compared to 8 control patients with symptomatic KSHV-MCD and 32 control patients with KS. KSHV viral load, serum human IL-6 (hIL-6), and human IL-10 were also evaluated.
Patients with inflammatory MCD-like symptoms but without MCD had elevated vIL-6 levels comparable to patients with symptomatic KSHV-MCD and significantly greater than control patients with KS (P = 0.0026). Elevated hIL-6, IL-10, and KSHV viral loads were also comparable to patients with symptomatic KSHV-MCD and significantly greater than those with KS.
A subset of patients with HIV and KSHV co-infection, but without MCD, can develop severe systemic inflammatory symptoms associated with elevated levels of KSHV vIL-6, IL-6, and KSHV viral loads. Excess lytic activation of KSHV, production of the lytic gene product vIL6, and associated immunologic dysregulation may underlie the pathophysiology of these symptoms. This IL-6-related inflammatory syndrome is important to consider in critically ill patients with HIV and KSHV co-infection.
viral interleukin-6; human herpesvirus 8; Kaposi sarcoma; multicentric Castleman disease; interleukin-6
This study represents a multiplex cytokine analysis of serum from a 10-month randomized, controlled trial of 238 subjects that investigated the effects of selenomethionine and/or celecoxib in subjects with mild or moderate esophageal squamous dysplasia. The original chemoprevention study found that among those with mild dysplasia, selenomethionine treatment favorably altered dysplasia grade. The current analysis found that selenomethionine down-regulated IL-2 by 9% (p=0.04), while celecoxib down-regulated IL-7 by 11% (p=0.006) and up-regulated IL-13 by 17% (p=0.008). In addition, an increase in IL-7 tertile from baseline to t10 was significantly associated with an increase in dysplasia grade, both overall (OR=1.47, p=0.03) and among those with mild dysplasia at t0 (OR=2.53 p=0.001). An increase in IL-2 tertile from baseline to t10 was also non-significantly associated with worsening dysplasia for all participants (OR=1.32 p=0.098), and significantly associated with worsening dysplasia among those with mild dysplasia at baseline (OR=2.0 p=0.01). The association of increased IL-2 with worsening dysplasia remained significant in those on selenomethionine treatment who began the trial with mild dysplasia (OR=2.52 p=0.03). The current study shows that selenomethionine supplementation decreased serum IL-2 levels, while celecoxib treatment decreased IL-7 levels and increased IL-13 levels during a 10 month randomized chemoprevention trial. An increase in IL-2 or IL-7 was associated with increased severity of dysplasia over the course of the trial, especially in those who began the trial with mild dysplasia. The favorable effect of selenomethionine on esophageal dysplasia in the original trial may have been mediated in part by its effect on reducing levels of IL-2.
chemoprevention; interleukin-2; preneoplasia; gastrointestinal tract; selenium
Detection of antibodies to Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV or Human Herpesvirus 8) is a topic of ongoing controversy. KSHV expresses multiple antigens and host responses are highly variable. We have previously described and algorithm for determining KSHV infection based on K8.1 ELISA and LANA Immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Here we describe the development of a recombinant ELISA for LANA and an improved testing strategy using ELISAs for LANA and K8.1. We assessed mammalian and baculovirus expression systems for the production of full length recombinant LANA. We evaluated the performance of LANA ELISAs using human serum samples from several sources including blood donors and clinical patients diagnosed with Kaposi’s sarcoma and compared them to LANA IFA. Both LANA ELISAs exhibited comparable sensitivity and specificity to LANA IFA but showed considerably greater reliability. The LANA ELISA can thus be used in conjunction with the previously described K8.1 ELISA to enable the highly sensitive and specific detection of antibodies to KSHV. Use of this testing strategy will provide a more accurate and reliable diagnostic assessment of KSHV status.
KSHV serology; ELISA; LANA; K8.1
Factors previously associated with Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) transmission in Africa include sexual, familial, and proximity to river water. We measured the seroprevalence of KSHV in relation to HIV, syphilis, and demographic factors among pregnant women attending public antenatal clinics in the Gauteng province of South Africa.
We tested for antibodies to KSHV lytic K8.1 and latent Orf73 antigens in 1740 pregnant women attending antenatal clinics who contributed blood to the "National HIV and Syphilis Sero-Prevalence Survey - South Africa, 2001". Information on HIV and syphilis serology, age, education, residential area, gravidity, and parity was anonymously linked to evaluate risk factors for KSHV seropositivity. Clinics were grouped by municipality regions and their proximity to the two main river catchments defined.
KSHV seropositivity (reactive to either lytic K8.1 and latent Orf73) was nearly twice that of HIV (44.6% vs. 23.1%). HIV and syphilis seropositivity was 12.7% and 14.9% in women without KSHV, and 36.1% and 19.9% respectively in those with KSHV. Women who are KSHV seropositive were 4 times more likely to be HIV positive than those who were KSHV seronegative (AOR 4.1 95%CI: 3.4 - 5.7). Although, women with HIV infection were more likely to be syphilis seropositive (AOR 1.8 95%CI: 1.3 - 2.4), no association between KSHV and syphilis seropositivity was observed. Those with higher levels of education had lower levels of KSHV seropositivity compared to those with lower education levels. KSHV seropositivity showed a heterogeneous pattern of prevalence in some localities.
The association between KSHV and HIV seropositivity and a lack of common association with syphilis, suggests that KSHV transmission may involve geographical and cultural factors other than sexual transmission.
Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and its causative agent, Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8), a gamma2 herpesvirus, have distinctive geographical distributions that are largely unexplained. We propose the “oncoweed” hypothesis to explain these differences, namely that environmental cofactors present in KS endemic regions cause frequent reactivation of KSHV in infected subjects, leading to increased viral shedding and transmission leading to increased prevalence of KSHV infection as well as high viral load levels and antibody titers. Reactivation also plays a role in the pathogenesis of KSHV-associated malignancies. To test this hypothesis, we employed an in vitro KSHV reactivation assay that measured increases in KSHV viral load in KSHV infected primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) cells and screened aqueous natural product extracts from KS endemic regions. Of 4,842 extracts from 38 countries, 184 (5%) caused KSHV reactivation. Extracts that caused reactivation came from a wide variety of plant families, and extracts from Africa, where KSHV is highly prevalent, caused the greatest level of reactivation. Time course experiments were performed using 28 extracts that caused the highest levels of reactivation. The specificity of the effects on viral replication was examined using transcriptional profiling of all viral mRNAs. The array data indicated that the natural extracts caused an ordered cascade of lytic replication similar to that seen after induction with synthetic activators. These in vitro data provide support for the “oncoweed” hypothesis by demonstrating basic biological plausibility.
Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus; natural products; reactivation
Environmental factors, such as plants and soil, may influence Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) replication or immune responses. However, the relationship of such exposures to KSHV seroprevalence has not been established.
In 1154 randomly sampled adults (aged 32–92) throughout Sicily, KSHV antibodies were detected with four assays and a conservative algorithm. Seroprevalence was re-weighted to the population. Logistic regression was used to estimate associations of seroprevalence with interview data, including contact with 20 specific plants.
KSHV seroprevalence was 8.5%, including 5.3% among men and 11.5% among women (P=0.22). In multivariate models, seroprevalence was consistently higher with residence in a smaller community during childhood (Ptrend≤0.03) and working with plants/soil during adulthood (odds ratio≥2.73). In such models, seroprevalence was higher with exposure to one plant (Hieracium, odds ratio≥2.8), but it was lower with three others (Acanthus mollis, Taraxacum officinalis, and Trigonella foenum-graecum) and with cumulative exposure to all 20 plants (Ptrend=0.03). Other demographic, household, and water contact variables were unrelated to seroprevalence.
KSHV seroprevalence appears to be increased by contact with soil and to vary with certain plants. Corroboration and investigation of possible effects of soil and plant constituents on KSHV regulation and immune responses are needed.
Herpesviridae; Kaposi sarcoma; Italy; ecology; plants; natural products
Improved diagnostic reagents and testing are currently needed for the serological detection of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) infections. We evaluated the luciferase immunoprecipitation systems (LIPS) for profiling antibody responses to a panel of HHV-8 proteins for diagnosis of Kaposi sarcoma (KS)-infected individuals. Using a pilot serum set, LIPS detected robust antibody responses to several known antigens, and a screen of 14 additional HHV-8 proteins identified v-cyclin as a potentially new diagnostic antigen. In evaluating a training-serum set, a four-antigen panel (K8.1, v-cyclin, ORF65, and a LANA fragment) was found to provide sufficient information for diagnosis. Analysis of a validation serum set using the combined results from these four separate antigen tests showed 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity. Furthermore, a LIPS format using a mixture of the four antigens, which simplifies data collection and analysis, closely matched the diagnostic performance of the combined separate tests (R = 0.95). This four-antigen mixture format analyzed with the validation serum set also showed 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity but was not statistically different from two separate enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (94% sensitivity and 100% specificity) using baculovirus-produced LANA and bacterially produced K8.1. Heat map analysis of KS patient antibody titers revealed marked heterogeneity in humoral responses to this four-antigen panel. Overall, the LIPS assay showed 97% sensitivity, and positive anti-v-cyclin antibodies were detected in approximately 75% of the KS sera. These results suggest that LIPS screening using an antigen mixture is a sensitive and high-throughput method for serological screening of HHV-8 infection in individuals with KS.
HIV-infected patients may acquire new viral co-infections; they may also experience the reactivation or worsening of existing viral infections, including active, smoldering, or latent infections. HIV-infected patients may be predisposed to these viral infections due to immunodeficiency or to risk factors common to HIV and other viruses. A number of these affect the kidney, either by direct infection or by deposition of immune complexes. In this review we discuss the renal manifestations and treatment of hepatitis C virus, BK virus, adenovirus, cytomegalovirus, and parvovirus B19 in patients with HIV disease. We also discuss an approach to the identification of new viral renal pathogens, using a viral gene chip to identify viral DNA or RNA.
hepatitis C; BK virus; adenovirus; cytomegalovirus; parvovirus
Sexually transmissible infections (STIs) have been variably associated with increased risks of prostate cancer, largely in case-control studies.
In the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial, we examined risk of prostate cancer in relation to serum antibodies to Chlamydia trachomatis, human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18, herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 2, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) in 868 cases (765 whites and 103 blacks) and 1,283 controls matched by race, age, time since initial screening, and year of blood draw; all blood samples were collected at least one year prior to prostate cancer diagnosis, except for 43 black cases. We also assessed risk associated with self-reported history of syphilis and gonorrhea.
Prevalences of the 7 STIs among controls were weakly correlated, and all were more frequent among blacks than whites, except for HHV-8. Among whites, prostate cancer risk was not significantly associated with the individual infections nor with their number (Ptrend = 0.1); however, men with one or more STI had slightly higher risk (odds ratio [OR] = 1.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.0-1.6). Among blacks, excess risk was associated with IgA antibody to C. trachomatis (OR = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.2-3.6).
This large prospective study of prostate cancer shows no consistent association with specific STIs and a borderline association with any vs. none. Whether a shared response or correlated infection not directly measured underlies the weak association requires further study.