Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) associated primary effusion lymphomas arise and grow in the body cavities as effusions, but it is not known whether the lining of body cavities and mesothelium derived malignancies are potential targets of HHV-8 infection. We examined a series of 13 diffuse malignant mesotheliomas and four mesothelial cell rich effusion samples of non-neoplastic aetiology from non-immunodepressed patients using the polymerase chain reaction to detect HHV-8 specific sequences. HHV-8 amplification products were absent in diffuse malignant mesotheliomas and in non-neoplastic effusions samples. These results suggest that HHV-8 has a selective tropism among body cavity based tumours, being confined to primary effusion lymphomas.
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