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ARTICLE |

Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus and Kaposi's Sarcoma in Africa

Yuan Chang, MD; John Ziegler, MD; Henry Wabinga, MD; Edward Katangole-Mbidde, MD; Chris Boshoff, MD; Thomas Schulz, MD; Denise Whitby, MD; Dawn Maddalena; Harold W. Jaffe, MD; Robin A. Weiss, MD; Patrick S. Moore, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1996;156(2):202-204. doi:10.1001/archinte.1996.00440020112014.
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Background:  Endemic Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a clinically and epidemiologically distinct human immunodeficiency virus negative form of KS occurring in Africa. Kaposi's sarcoma is now the most frequently reported cancer in some areas of Africa.

Objective:  To determine if a KS-associated herpes-virus (KSHV) is present in both endemic HIV-seronegative and HIV-seropositive KS lesions from African patients.

Methods:  Paraffin-embedded tissue specimens from Ugandan patients with KS and non-KS tumor control patients attending a university-based oncology clinic were examined in a blinded case-control study. Tissue DNA specimens were examined for detectable KSHV genome by nested polymerase chain reaction performed at two independent laboratories.

Results:  We identified KSHV in 17 (85%) of 20 KS tissue specimens from HIV-seronegative patients and 22 (92%) of 24 KS tissue specimens from HIV-infected persons. Kaposi's sarcoma lesions from four HIV-infected persons and four HIV-seronegative persons were positive for KSHV. Unlike previous studies in North America and Europe, three (14%) of 22 non-KS cancer control patients' tissue specimens were also positive for KSHV that resulted in an overall odds ratio of 49.2 (95% confidence interval, 9.1 to 335) for detecting KSHV in KS lesions from patients in Uganda.

Conclusion:  As in North America and Europe, KSHV infection is strongly associated with both HIV-seropositive and HIV-seronegative KS in Africa. However, it is likely that infection with this virus is more highly prevalent in Uganda.(Arch Intern Med. 1996;156:202-204)

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