Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a γ herpesvirus well recognized to be involved in the development of human B (Hodgkin and non Hodgkin lymphomas) and NK/T cell lymphomas, either in the general population or in the immunosuppressed individuals. The human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) is another γ herpesvirus, recently recognized to be associated with the occurrence of rare B cell lymphomas and atypical lymphoproliferations, especially in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected subjects. Moreover, the human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6), a β-herpesvirus, has been shown to be implicated in some non-malignant lymph node proliferations, such as the Rosai Dorfman disease and in a proportion of Hodgkin lymphoma cases. HHV-6 has a wide cellular tropism and it might play a role in the pathogenesis of a wide variety of human diseases, but given its ubiquity, disease associations are difficult to prove and its role in hematological malignancies is still controversial. The involvement of another β-herpesvirus, the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), has not yet been proven in human cancer, even though recent findings have suggested its potential role in the development of CD4+ large granular lymphocyte (LGL) lymphocytosis. Here, we review the current knowledge on the pathogenetic role of HHV-8 and human β-herpesviruses in human lymphoproliferative disorders
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