Multicenter comparison of PCR assays for detection of human herpesvirus 8 DNA in semen

Philip E. Pellett, Thomas J. Spira, Omar Bagasra, Chris Boshoff, Lawrence Corey, Laura De Lellis, Meei Li Huang, Jung Chung Lin, Steve Matthews, Paolo Monini, Paola Rimessi, Carlos Sosa, Charles Wood, John A. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Reported prevalences of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) (Kaposi's sarcoma- associated herpesvirus) in semen have ranged widely. This is possibly due to differences in assay sensitivity, geographic or population-based differences in the true presence of the virus in semen, and PCR contamination. This study assessed interlaboratory sensitivity and reproducibitity in the analysis of blinded experimental panels, each consisting of 48 specimens and being composed of semen specimens from different healthy artificial-insemination donors (n = 30) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients (n = 7) plus positive (n = 4) and negative (n = 7) controls. The experimental panels analyzed in each laboratory were identical except for being independently coded. Of 10 experiments done in five laboratories, 5 experiments from three laboratories had evidence of PCR contamination; all instances of contamination were in the context of nested PCR procedures. In the experiments with no false-positive results, HHV-8 DNA was detected in three (8%) of the 37 semen specimens (two from artificial-insemination donors and one from an HIV-positive patient) but in only 3 (1.6%) of the 184 PCRs in which these specimens were analyzed. This suggests that HHV-8 DNA is present in semen at concentrations that can be too low to allow its consistent detection. This study emphasizes the importance of performing blinded, multi- institution experiments to provide a coherent basis for comparing results and to motivate standardization of methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1298-1301
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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