Original Research

Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus protein ORF75 among HIV-1 patients in Kenya

Rodgers N. Demba, Sylviah M. Aradi, Matilu Mwau, Walter O. Mwanda
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 9, No 1 | a939 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v9i1.939 | © 2020 Rodgers N. Demba, Sylviah M. Aradi, Matilu Mwau, Walter O. Mwanda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 December 2018 | Published: 25 August 2020

About the author(s)

Rodgers N. Demba, School of Health Sciences, Kisii University, Kisii, Kenya
Sylviah M. Aradi, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
Matilu Mwau, Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases Control Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Busia, Kenya
Walter O. Mwanda, Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya

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Background: Histology is used to identify Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) in countries with low resources to fund healthcare costs. Approximately 95% of KS cases can be detected using a polymerase chain reaction.

Objective: To determine the presence of the open reading frame 75 (ORF75) gene associated with Kaposi’s sarcoma herpes virus among HIV-1/AIDS patients and to describe morphological presentations of KS.

Methods: This was a retrospective, descriptive study of archived tissue blocks collected from 2013 to 2016. Haematoxylin and eosin staining was used to identify KS. Deoxyribonucleic acid from archived tissue blocks was extracted and a nested polymerase chain reaction was used to detect the ORF75 gene.

Results: All 81 cases in this study had been diagnosed as HIV-1 positive, of which 68 had hallmark features of KS in the histology report and 13 had features suggestive of KS (‘KS-like’). Microscopic identification of KS by haematoxylin and eosin staining was considered a significant indicator of KS herpes virus ORF75 gene positivity (p = 0.002). The ORF75 gene was detected in 60.5% (49/81) of tissue blocks; 27.2% were men (22/81) and 33.3% were women (27/81). The ORF75 gene was observed to be present in up to 15.4% (2/13) of the cases reported to have KS-like features.

Conclusion: Following the initial diagnosis of KS by histology, the ORF75 gene was fur-ther detected from both cases that had hallmark features of KS as well as among cases with KS-like fea-tures.


Human herpes virus 8; Kaposi’s sarcoma; histology; nested PCR; ORF75 gene


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