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PloS One


Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus is the causative agent of primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), which arises preferentially in the setting of infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Even with standard cytotoxic chemotherapy, PEL continues to cause high mortality rates, requiring the development of novel therapeutic strategies. PEL xenograft models employing immunodeficient mice have been used to study the in vivo effects of a variety of therapeutic approaches. However, it remains unclear whether these xenograft models entirely reflect clinical presentations of KSHV(+) PEL, especially given the recent description of extracavitary solid tumor variants arising in patients. In addition, effusion and solid tumor cells propagated in vivo exhibit unique biology, differing from one another or from their parental cell lines propagated through in vitro culture. Therefore, we used a KSHV(+) PEL/BCBL-1 xenograft model involving non-obese diabetic/severe-combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice, and compared characteristics of effusion and solid tumors with their parent cell culture-derived counterparts. Our results indicate that although this xenograft model can be used for study of effusion and solid lymphoma observed in patients, tumor cells in vivo display unique features to those passed in vitro, including viral lytic gene expression profile, rate of solid tumor development, the host proteins and the complex of tumor microenvironment. These items should be carefully considered when the xenograft model is used for testing novel therapeutic strategies against KSHV-related lymphoma.

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