Kaposi sarcoma is a slow-growing vascular tumor localized to skin, but which spreads to internal viscera in 40% of immunosuppressed post-transplant patients. Kaposi sarcoma results from either primary infection or reactivation of human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8), a gammaherpesvirus associated with Kaposi sarcoma. It is not known, however, if the transplanted organ itself can transmit Kaposi sarcoma from the donor. In the April 7 advance online Nature Medicine, Patrizia Barozzi from University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, and colleagues from elsewhere in Italy, Israel, and Germany, show that post-transplant Kaposi sarcoma can originate from the seeding of donor-derived progenitors.

Barozzi et al. used a combination of molecular and immunohistochemical methods to analyse the origin of post-transplant Kaposi sarcoma lesions. They observed that HHV-8-infected neoplastic cells in post-transplant Kaposi sarcoma from five of eight renal transplant patients harbored either genetic or antigenic markers of their matched donors.

"The possibility that...

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