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Integrative proteomics and genomics supports a role for interferon gamma in the pathogenesis of Kaposi sarcoma and finds multiple candidate diagnostic proteins for early detection or prevention


Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a common and morbid condition among persons with HIV infection. Strategies for preventing KS or designing better treatment regimens would be aided by the identification of biomarkers for development or progression of KS. Due to the vascular and often disseminated nature of KS, proteomic signatures detected from and specific to KS tumors may yield viable candidate diagnostic protein markers and insights into the pathogenesis of KS.


Flash-frozen punch biopsies from cutaneous samples of tumor and normal skin of individuals having epidemic (HIV-positive) or endemic (HIV-negative) KS were profiled using tandem mass spectrometry. Protein data were integrated with previously existing databases relevant for prioritizing diagnostic marker candidates, including plasma proteome data of cancer-free individuals, normal endothelial cells, and microarrays profiling the mRNA of KS, normal skin, KSHV-infected endothelial cells, and uninfected cells.


In a comparison of 13 HIV+ tumor punch biopsies to 5 HIV+ normal samples, 5100 total proteins were identified. We have identified proteins abundant in the majority of tumor samples and absent from normal skin and plasma of cancer-free individuals that may serve as candidate diagnostic markers. Aligning the data with KS tissue expression data produced 72 proteins that were over-abundant in KS samples in both proteomic and transcriptomic datasets. Most notably, a third of those proteins (24 total) are known to interact with interferon gamma (IFNγ) (enrichment p-value<10-8). Gene symbols are shown in Figure 1. This finding is consistent with previous observations on the importance of IFNγ in endothelial cell proliferation and expression in KS tumors. We are currently evaluating these results further, including conducting other experiments intended to compare the KS proteomics signatures that distinguish 6 HIV+ and 6 HIV- KS tumors. Preliminary results from these analyses will be presented as well.

Figure 1
figure 1

Tumor proteins with direct or indirect relationships to IFNγ.


The combined use of genomic and proteomic interrogation of biopsy material from KS tumors has revealed a large set of proteins that are overexpressed in KS compared to normal skin and provides a set of candidate diagnostic proteins for the prevention or early detection of KS. These data are also useful in exploring hypotheses regarding the pathogenesis of KS and relating those mechanisms to their role in endemic and epidemic disease.


This article has been published as part of Infectious Agents and Cancer Volume 5 Supplement 1, 2010: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Malignancies in AIDS and Other Acquired Immunodeficiencies (ICMAOI).The full contents of the supplement are available online at

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Correspondence to Corey Casper.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Amon, L., Gross, J., Orem, J. et al. Integrative proteomics and genomics supports a role for interferon gamma in the pathogenesis of Kaposi sarcoma and finds multiple candidate diagnostic proteins for early detection or prevention. Infect Agents Cancer 5 (Suppl 1), A42 (2010).

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