Presence of human beta- and gamma-herpes virus DNA in Hodgkin's disease

C A Schmidt, H Oettle, R Peng, T Binder, F Wilborn, D Huhn, W Siegert, H Herbst
Leukemia Research 2000, 24 (10): 865-70
Herpes viruses have been implicated in the etiology of Hodgkin's disease (HD). We studied the prevalence of human cytomegalovirus (CMV), human herpes viruses type-6 (HHV-6), type-7 (HHV-7) and type 8 (HHV-8) DNA in up to 88 Hodgkin's disease biopsies in comparison to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) and reactive lesions served as controls. CMV and HHV-6 were found in 8/86 (9%) and 11/88 (13%) HD cases, respectively, by nested primer PCR. Except for three cases harbouring HHV-6 type-B, only HHV-6 type-A was detected in HD. HHV-7 was observed by nested PCR in 33/88 (38%) HD cases and was already detectable in 15/88 (17%) HD cases by a single-round PCR indicating elevated virus copy numbers. Seven of these cases showed co-infection with HHV-6, and 11 cases were found to contain EBV DNA. 7/8 CMV-positive HD cases also harboured EBV DNA. HHV-8 DNA was not detected by single round or nested PCR in any HD case investigated. Thus, CMV, HHV-6, and HHV-7 were present in small proportions of HD cases, with frequent co-infection of HHV-6 and HHV-7, and frequent association with EBV. In contrast to EBV, beta-herpes viruses are therefore unlikely to have a role in the aetiology of HD. Rather, the presence of these viruses seems to reflect impaired immunological surveillance.


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