Recently, molecular evidence of the gamma herpesvirus, human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), was found in the nonmalignant bone marrow stromal cells of patients with multiple myeloma using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay. Other investigators have been unable to confirm either the presence of HHV-8 using molecular techniques or serologic evidence of prior infection with HHV-8. In order to maximize the likelihood of detection of small quantities of the virus and minimize the risk of potential nucleic acid contamination, we used entire bone marrow biopsy core specimens for DNA extraction and amplification. These specimens included both malignant plasma cells and bone marrow stromal cells and were subjected to minimal manipulation prior to DNA extraction and PCR. We tested eight patients with various plasma cell dyscrasias and compared them to negative controls with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma using standard PCR assays utilizing the KS330233 primers and probe for HHV-8. This assay is reproducibly positive in Kaposi's sarcoma tissue. We found no evidence of HHV-8 DNA in either the lymphoma controls or the samples from patients with the plasma cell dyscrasias using these methods. We conclude that HHV-8 is unlikely to play a major role in the pathogenesis of the plasma cell dyscrasias in the majority of patients with these diseases. This report adds to the body of evidence that HHV-8 is not associated with plasma cell dyscrasias like multiple myeloma.
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