HHV-6 implicated as oncogenic agent in subset of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Since its initial description, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (HL) has been considered as an infectious disease. Initially, Epstein Bar Virus (EBV) was identified in 25%-40% of HL. For the first time, another virus other than EBV has been implicated in HL.

By examining 48 lymph node biopsies previously found positive for HHV-6B DNA, Lacroix et al demonstrated the presence of HHV-6B in the Reed Sternberg (RS) cells of 39.5% of the nodular sclerosis subset of HL, and even more surprising, they found that the HHV-6B specific protein DR7B was detected in 73.7% of these tissues. Interestingly, this subset of HL tissue was EBV-negative. By showing that HHV-6B transactivates NFkB and increases Id2 expression through the expression of DR7B, HHV-6 has now been implicated as an oncogenic agent in the nodular sclerosis subset of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Also, detection of DR7B in the RS cells of EBV-negative HL patients may be considered as a surrogate marker for the identification of patients with a high probability of remission (Lacroix 2010).