Kaposi’s Sarcoma and the Lymphatics

Part of the Cancer Metastasis – Biology and Treatment book series (CMBT, volume 13)


Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiological agent of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS). KS presents as multifocal, angiogenic lesions involving an inflammatory infiltrate and KSHV-infected spindle cells display characteristic markers of lymphatic endothelia. The precise origin of the spindle cell component of KS lesions is uncertain and may derive from the reprogramming of the transcriptome of endothelial cells or their precursors to adopt a lymphatic-like gene expression profile. The lymphotrophic nature of KSHV corresponds to its pathological association with two further AIDS-related malignancies: primary effusion lymphomas (PEL) and a plasmablastic variant of multicentric Castleman’s disease (MCD). KSHV infection of B-cells in lymph node follicles creates a reservoir for the persistence of KSHV infection that may influence the characteristics of the associated lymphomas.

Here we discuss the mechanisms of KSHV infection in the context of KS and KSHV-associated lymphomas and examine the potential for KSHV to determine the fate of cells associated with the lymphatic system.

Key words

Endothelial cells KSHV Kaposi’s sarcoma Lymphangiogenesis Spindle cells 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CR-UK Viral Oncology Group, UCL Cancer InstituteWC1E 6BT LondonUK

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