Recent molecular evidence suggests an association with a new herpesvirus, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8), and primary effusion lymphomas (PELs). PELs have a characteristic morphology, phenotype, and clinical presentation, with malignant effusions in the absence of a contiguous solid tumor mass. We have established a cell line (KS-1) from a KSHV-positive human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative patient with pleural cavity-based lymphoma that was passaged into triple-immunodeficient BNX mice. In contrast to cell lines from body cavity-based lymphomas derived from HIV-positive individuals that contain both KSHV and Epstein Barr viral genome, these cells contain only KSHV, allowing for uncontaminated virologic studies. Ultrastructural examination identified malignant cells with features of late differentiating B cells (immunoblasts). Cells with viral cytopathic effect contained typical 110-nm intranuclear herpesvirus nucleocapsids and complete cytoplasmic virions, confirming the association of PEL with KSHV.

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