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Human herpesvirus 8 (Kaposi sarcoma)




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Human herpesvirus 8 (Kaposi sarcoma)


1 / 1 complete
High Yield Notes
10 pages

USMLE® Step 1 style questions USMLE

1 questions

A 46-year-old man comes to his primary care provider regarding mouth discomfort and bleeding for the past several weeks. He noticed bleeding after brushing his teeth. The patient's medical history is notable for HIV infection, and he says that he has been poorly compliant with his antiretroviral medication. Physical examination shows an intraoral dark-brown lesion with an overlying plaque which is easily scraped. Biopsy of the lesion shows significant lymphocyte infiltration and the presence of spindle cells. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?  

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Content Reviewers:

Viviana Popa, MD

Human herpesvirus 8, or HHV-8, also called Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, or KSHV, belongs to the family of human gamma herpesviruses.

HHV-8 is one of the seven known oncoviruses, meaning viruses that cause cancer in people.

Specifically, HHV-8 causes Kaposi’s sarcoma, a type of cancer usually seen in individuals with AIDS.

Human herpesvirus 8 is a large double stranded linear DNA virus surrounded by an icosahedral capsid, which is a spherical protein shell made up of 20 equilateral triangular faces.

The capsid is covered by a protein layer called the tegument, and finally enclosed in an envelope, which is a lipid membrane that contains viral glycoproteins and is acquired from the nuclear membrane of host cells.

HHV-8 is transmitted through sexual contact and once in the body it uses the viral glycoproteins on its envelope to enter a wide variety of cells such as B cells, endothelial cells, macrophages and epithelial cells.

Now, the virus life cycle has two phase