• acute lymphoblastic leukaemia;
  • non-Hodgkin's lymphoma;
  • body-cavity-based lymphoma;
  • Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus;
  • AIDS

Summary. In this study we have tested the distribution of Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) DNA sequences throughout the spectrum of lymphoid neoplasia in Italy and Spain. 180 cases of lymphoid malignancies representative of the major histologic and immunophenotypic categories of B- and T-cell tumours were analysed by means of a polymerase chain reaction-based assay. KSHV sequences were consistently absent in all categories of lymphoid malignancies studied, with the exception of a subset of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas localizing in the pleural, pericardial or peritoneal cavities, and fulfilling the diagnostic criteria of body-cavity-based lymphoma. The selective and consistent association of KSHV sequences with cases of body-cavity-based lymphoma throughout the spectrum of lymphoid neoplasms suggests that KSHV may be involved in the pathogenesis of this peculiar type of lymphoid malignancy.