Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is associated with a herpesvirus (HHV-8/KSHV), which expresses a latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA). The histopathology of KS is characterized by angiogenesis, inflammatory cells, and the development of CD34+ tumor spindle cells (SCs). However, the cellular basis for the recruitment and dissemination of HHV-8 during the development of KS lesions is not clear. Twenty-nine KS biopsies with AIDS (AKS, n = 22) and without HIV infection (endemic KS or EKS, n = 7) were immunostained by a triple antibody method to characterize HHV-8-infected and noninfected (LANA+/−) CD34+ SCs, infiltrating CD3+, CD68+, CD20+, and CD45+ leukocytes as well as proliferating (Ki67+) cells. The CD34+/LANA+ SCs were more frequent in late (nodular) as compared with early (patch/plaque) KS stages. However, in late AKS 36.0% of SCs (median of 11 cases) were CD34+/LANA− compared with 20.7% in early cases (median of 11 cases). Furthermore, both AKS and EKS showed, at all stages, a small (4.1–6.5%) population of LANA+/CD34− cells. Proliferating Ki67+ cells were seen (4.5–11.5%) at all KS stages, and were usually more frequent in early AKS, but no significant difference was observed between nodular AKS and EKS. Most of the proliferating cells in the KS lesions were LANA+/CD34+ but a small fraction was LANA+/CD34−. Lesional CD68+ and CD3+ cells varied between AKS (7.3 and 5.2%, respectively) and EKS (4.9 and 3.1%, respectively) but were not clearly stage related. No LANA+ cells were CD3+, CD20+, or CD45+ and very few (<0.5%) were CD68+. These results indicate that not all CD34+ KS SCs were LANA+, suggesting recruitment of noninfected SCs to the lesions. Cell proliferation in general was much higher in early as compared with the late AKS stages. LANA+ SCs could have a proliferative advantage as suggested by higher frequency of cycling (Ki67+) LANA+ SCs. Few macrophages but no lymphocytes are LANA+.
From *Immunopathology Laboratory, Department of Pathology and Oncology, Karolinska Institute/Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, and †Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences, Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania. ‡Currently at MetaGen Pharmaceuticals GmbH, Berlin, Germany. §Currently at Institute of Medical Genetics, Charite Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany.
Received for publication August 12, 2003; accepted January 16, 2004.
Supported by SIDA/SAREC through the TANSWED HIV project and by the Swedish Cancer Society, Cancer Society of Stockholm, Karolinska Institute Research Fund, and the Swedish Institute.
Reprints: Pawan Pyakurel, Immunopathology Laboratory, Karolinska Institute/Hospital, S171-76, Stockholm, Sweden (e-mail: email@example.com).