Herpes Virus Associated with Kaposi Sarcoma
The herpes virus that causes cancer of the skin, lymph nodes, mucous membranes, and sometimes other organs.
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Association with Kaposi’s Sarcoma
Kaposi’s Sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (HHV-8) is a herpes infection associated with Kaposi’s Sarcoma, a cancer of the cells that line the lymphatic and blood vessels.
The most common type of Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS) develops in HIV-infected individuals and is considered to be an AIDS-defining illness— when a person with HIV has KS, they officially have AIDS (1). HHV-8 can cause KS when the immune system is impaired for other reasons, such as chronic diseases and immunosuppressive medications.
In patients with HIV-associated KS, purple, red, or brown lesions on the skin are the first sign. The lesions can develop inside the mouth and inner eyelids.
HHV-8 infection is much more common than Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS), meaning most people infected with HHV-8 do not get KS and never show any symptoms. Less than 10 percent of Americans have an HHV-8 infection (2).
Like other herpes viruses, HHV-8 is spread through bodily fluids. In children, HHV-8 infection symptoms have been shown to be nonspecific and include fever, rash, and upper respiratory tract infection (3).
HHV-8 may also be linked with primary effusion lymphoma and Castleman’s disease.
HHV-8 treatment depends on the diagnosis and can include radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.
- What Is Kaposi Sarcoma? American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/kaposi-sarcoma/about/what-is-kaposi-sarcoma.html. Accessed April 1, 2019.
- What Causes Kaposi Sarcoma? American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/kaposi-sarcoma/causes-risks-prevention/what-causes.html. Accessed April 1, 2019.
- Dow DE, Cunningham CK, Buchanan AM. A Review of Human Herpesvirus 8, the Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus, in the Pediatric Population. Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3933043/. Published March 2014. Accessed April 1, 2019.