Kaposi Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus and Other Viruses in Human Lymphomagenesis

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Abstract

Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also called human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), is associated with a specific subset of lymphoproliferative disorders. These include two main categories. The first is primary effusion lymphomas and related solid variants. The second is multicentric Castleman disease, from which KSHV-positive plasmablastic lymphomas can arise. KSHV contributes to lymphomagenesis by subverting the host cell molecular signaling machinery to deregulate cell growth and survival. KSHV expresses a selected set of genes in the lymphoma cells, encoding viral proteins that play important roles in KSHV lymphomagenesis. Deregulation of the NF-κB pathway is an important strategy used by KSHV to promote lymphoma cell survival, and the viral protein vFLIP is essential for this process. Two other viruses that are well documented to be causally associated with lymphoid neoplasia in humans are Epstein-Barr virus (EBV/HHV-4) and human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV-1). Both of these are similar to KSHV in their use of viral proteins to promote cell survival by deregulating the NF-κB pathway. Here we review the basic information and recent developments that have contributed to our knowledge of lymphomas caused by KSHV and other viruses. The understanding of the mechanisms of viral lymphomagenesis should lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets and to the development of rationally designed therapies.