The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region on chromosome 6p21.3 is suspected to host susceptibility loci for HIV-related Kaposi’s sarcoma (HIV-KS). A nested case-control study in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study was designed to conduct fine genetic association mapping across central MHC. Individuals co-infected with HIV-1 and HHV-8 who later developed KS were defined as cases (n=354) and were matched 1:1 with co-infected KS-free controls.
We report data for new independent MHC class II and III susceptibility loci. In particular, class II HLA-DMB emerged as a strong candidate, with the intronic variant rs6902982 A>G associated with a 4-fold increase of risk (OR= 4.09; 95% CI: 1.90–8.80; p= 0.0003). A striking multiplicative effect on the estimated risk was associated with further carriage of two non-synonymous variants, rs1800453 A>G (Asp697Gly) and rs4148880 A>G (Ile393Val), in the linked TAP1 gene (OR=10.5; 95% CI: 2.54–43.6; p=0.0012). The class III susceptibility variant is moderately associated with HIV-KS and lies within a 120 Kb-long haplotype (OR=1.52; 95% CI: 1.01–2.28; p=0.047) formed by rs7029 A>G ( GPANK1 3’UTR), rs1065356 G>A ( LY6G6C), rs3749953 A>G ( MSH5-SAPCD1 readthrough) and rs707926 G>A ( VARS). Our data suggest that antigen processing by MHC class II molecules is a target pathway in the pathogenesis of HIV-KS.