The impact of preexisting or acquired Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) infection in kidney transplant recipients was evaluated in a prospective study. Serum collected from kidney donors and recipients before transplantation were tested for antibodies against KSHV latent nuclear antigen. Three groups of recipients were defined: group A (KSHV+), group B (KSHV−, KSHV+ donor) and group C (donor and recipient KSHV−). Blood was collected from recipients, every 3 months for 3 years, for KSHV viremia (groups A and B), quantitative (group A) and qualitative serology (group B). Data of group C recipients were extracted from a French database. The prevalence of KSHV antibodies was 1.1% in donors and 3.2% in recipients. There were respectively 161, 64 and 4744 recipients in groups A, B and C.
In group A, 13% developed Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). Age >53.5 years (p = 0.025) and black skin (p = 0.0054) were associated with KS development. In group B, three recipients developed clinical manifestations related to KSHV infection. There was no difference in terms of survival and graft loss between the three groups. In conclusion, although kidney recipients should be aware of the additional risk of KSHV morbidity, KSHV+ recipients should not be systematically excluded from kidney transplantation.