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Latency-associated nuclear antigen expression and human herpesvirus-8 polymerase chain reaction in the evaluation of Kaposi sarcoma and other vascular tumors in HIV-positive patients

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University Hospital, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Modern Pathology (Impact Factor: 6.36). 05/2005; 18(4):463-8. DOI: 10.1038/modpathol.3800221
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ABSTRACT Human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) is expressed in endothelial and spindle cells of nearly all Kaposi sarcomas, and the presence of this antigen in serum is strongly correlated with the risk of developing Kaposi sarcoma in immunocompromised individuals. Studies of vascular tumors occurring in the general population show LANA expression to be specific for Kaposi sarcoma. No study to date, however, has examined whether non-Kaposi sarcoma vascular tumors arising in immunocompromised patients may express LANA, possibly reflecting origin from an HHV-8-infected endothelial progenitor cell. The objective of this study was to evaluate the specificity of LANA expression for Kaposi sarcoma in immunocompromised patients by LANA immunohistochemistry and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for HHV-8. A total of 13 cases of non-Kaposi sarcoma vascular tumors (12 hemangiomas and one epithelioid hemangioendothelioma) and 24 cases of Kaposi sarcoma, all from known HIV-positive patients, were immunostained for LANA and evaluated for the presence of HHV-8 DNA by real-time PCR. LANA expression was seen in 22 of 24 (92%) of Kaposi sarcoma cases and in 0 of 13 non-Kaposi sarcoma cases. Real-time PCR detected HHV-8 in all of the Kaposi sarcoma cases and in four of the non-Kaposi sarcoma cases (all hemangiomas). LANA expression appears to be a highly sensitive and specific marker of Kaposi sarcoma in both the general population and in HIV-positive patients. This is in contrast to HHV-8 PCR, which is positive in a small subset of non-Kaposi sarcoma vascular tumors, most likely due to detection of HHV-8 within intratumoral blood mononuclear cells by the highly sensitive real-time PCR technique. For this reason, LANA immunohistochemistry is preferable to HHV-8 PCR for the evaluation of problematic vascular proliferations in HIV-positive individuals.

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