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Immunohistochemical and molecular assessment of human herpesvirus type 8 in gastrointestinal tumours
  1. C C Su1,
  2. C F Li2,
  3. Y L Liao2,
  4. C N Lin2,
  5. J J Lu3
  1. 1Department of Pathology, Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi General Hospital, Dalin Town, Chiayi County 622, Taiwan
  2. 2Department of Pathology, Chi-Mei Medical Centre, Tainan County 710, Taiwan
  3. 3Division of Clinical Pathology, Department of Pathology, Tri-Service General Hospital and National Defence Medical Centre, Taipei 114, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr C-C Su
 Department of Anatomic Pathology, Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi General Hospital, 2, Minsheng Road, Dalin Town, Chiayi County 622, Taiwan;


Background: Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) are the most common mesenchymal tumours of the gastrointestinal tract, histologically identified as highly cellular spindle or epithelioid cell tumours, and often positive for CD34 (60–70%). Kaposi’s sarcomas (KSs) are similar to GISTs: they are most often found in the gastrointestinal tract (although cutaneous lesions do occur), they are also composed of spindle or epithelioid cells (although erythrocytes are also seen), and the tumour cells are nearly all positive for CD34. Human herpesvirus type 8 (HHV-8) DNA has been found consistently in all types of KS, in particular in CD34 positive KS tumour cells. However, the association between HHV-8 and GIST has not been investigated.

Aims: To assess the presence of HHV-8 in GISTs.

Methods: Paraffin wax embedded tissues of 86 primary GISTs and their recurrent or metastatic tumours were analysed immunohistochemically for the CD34 antigen and HHV-8 latent nuclear antigen 1 (LNA-1) and by means of the nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and real time PCR for HHV-8 DNA.

Results: None of the 86 GISTs contained HHV-8 DNA sequences or LNA-1 positive cells.

Conclusions: These results demonstrate the lack of HHV-8 infection in GIST tumour cells. HHV-8 does not appear to play a role in the pathogenesis of GIST, irrespective of the status of the tumour.

  • GIST, gastrointestinal tumour
  • HHV-8, human herpesvirus type 8
  • HPF, high power field
  • KS, Kaposi’s sarcoma
  • LNA-1, latent nuclear antigen 1
  • PBS, phosphate buffered saline
  • PCR, polymerase chain reaction
  • human herpesvirus type 8
  • gastrointestinal tumour
  • CD34
  • CD117
  • c-kit

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