Seroprevalence of Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) and incidence of Kaposi's sarcoma in Iran
Seroepidemiological surveys show that the prevalence of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) infection mostly varies in various geographical areas and reflects the local incidence of classic and endemic KS, being widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and Mediterranean countries and uncommon in the USA and Northern Europe. In the Middle East only few populations, such as Ashkenazi and Sephardic groups in Israel, have been adequately evaluated for HHV-8 seroprevalence. Among Iranian population a striking higher seroprevalence of HHV8 has been reported among haemodialysis (16.9%), renal transplant recipients (25%) and HIV (45.7%) patients compared to blood donors (2%). Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is the rarest cancer in Iran, with an annual age-standardized incidence varying from 0.10 to 0.17 per 100,000 in males and from 0.06 to 0.08 per 100,000 in females. KS, however, is one of the most important malignancies in Iranian renal transplanted patients affecting up to 2.4% of organ recipients. The epidemiology of HHV8 and KS in Iran needs further evaluation. While the high prevalence of HHV-8 antibodies in HIV positive and haemodialysis individuals may be attributed to high-risk sexual behavior and polytransfusions, respectively, unknown determinants may be responsible for high seroprevalence of HHV8 and high incidence of KS in solid organ recipients. A global survey on HHV8 seroprevalence in Iran is mandatory to define co-factors associated with HHV8 infection and KS risk in the general Iranian population and in specific patient groups. © 2011 Jalilvand et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.