Angiosarcomas of the skin arise almost exclusively in the following clinical settings: (1) the face and scalp, usually in elderly individuals; (2) the lymphedematous extremities; and (3) skin that has been previously irrradiated (postradiation angiosarcomas). The detection of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) DNA in tumor tissue of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)–associated Karposi sarcoma (KS) by Chang et al1 has originated the debate on the relevance of HHV-8 (also known as KS-associated HHV) in the pathogenesis of malignant tumors. Moreover, there are contradictory reports concerning the presence of HHV-8 DNA sequences in angiosarcomas.2,3 A recent report confirmed the presence of HHV-8 in disseminated angiosarcoma and reported the presence of HHV-8 in 3 additional cases,4 although many authors deny its presence in angiosarcoma.5
All studies concerning the detection of HHV-8 did not take into account the different types of angiosarcoma. Thus, we investigated different types of angiosarcoma (idiopathic, lymphedema associated, and postradiation angiosarcoma) concerning the presence of HHV-8, using the highly sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology for detection of HHV-8–specific DNA.