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).