Background. This study investigates the association between human herpesvirus eight (HHV8) and Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), the most common cancer occurring in renal transplant recipients in Saudi Arabia.
Methods. A cross-sectional study of seroreactivity to HHV8 antigens in posttransplant KS patients from a tertiary care hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and in control subjects without KS was conducted. Seroreactivity rates were determined using immunoblotting assays to detect antibodies to two lytic cycle HHV8 antigens: p40, an antigen found in infected cells, and sVCA, an HHV8-encoded small viral capsid antigen expressed in Escherichia coli.
Results. Antibodies to HHV8 p40 and sVCA were present in a significantly higher proportion of renal transplant patients with KS (13 of 14 patients) compared to renal transplant patients without KS (5 of 18;P<0.001) and compared to other control individuals (6 of 44; P<0.001). HHV8 seroreactivity was more common among patients with renal failure (28%) than among other control groups(7%).
Conclusions. The serologic results provide evidence of a strong association between HHV8 and posttransplant KS in Saudi Arabia.