AIMS: Human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8) is the infectious agent implicated in the pathogenesis of Kaposi's sarcoma, although its mode of action is unclear. Recent work indicates that the HHV-8 genome encodes a viral Bcl-2 homologue (v-Bcl-2). The aim of this study was to explore Bcl-2 expression in Kaposi's sarcoma using a unique set of HHV-8 positive and negative cases, and to determine whether there is a relation with p53 expression. METHODS: Up to 18 specimens from 17 patients were selected. HHV-8 status was determined using nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to the open reading frame (ORF) 26, with further confirmation by TaqMan PCR. In addition, Bcl-2 and p53 immunohistochemistry were performed using standard protocols. RESULTS: The results suggest that Bcl-2 and p53 expression is independent of HHV-8 status. In addition, there does not appear to be a direct correlation with disease stage. CONCLUSIONS: HHV8 histopathogenesis is likely to be a multifactorial complex process, which may be mediated in part by viral genes and apoptosis regulating homologues.
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