Whole-Genome Sequencing Identifies STAT4 as a Putative Susceptibility Gene in Classic Kaposi Sarcoma.
BACKGROUND Classic Kaposi sarcoma (cKS) is an inflammatory tumor caused by human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) commonly observed in elderly men of Mediterranean origin. We studied a Finnish family of 5 affected individuals in 2 generations. Except for atypical mycobacterial infection of the index case, the affected individuals did not have notable histories of infection. METHODS We performed genome and exome sequencing and mapped shared chromosomal regions to identify genetic predisposition in the family. RESULTS We identified 12 protein-coding candidate variants that segregated in the 3 affected cousins from whom we had samples. The affected mother of the index case was an obligatory carrier. Among the 12 candidates was a rare heterozygous substitution rs141331848 (c.1337C>T, p.Thr446Ile) in the DNA-binding domain of STAT4. The variant was not present in 242 Finnish control genomes or 180 additional regional controls. Activated T-helper cells from the HHV-8-negative variant carriers showed reduced interferon γ production, compared with age and sex matched wild-type individuals. We screened STAT4 in additional 18 familial KS cases and the variant site from 56 sporadic KS cases but detected no pathogenic mutations. CONCLUSIONS Our data suggest that STAT4 is a potential cKS-predisposition gene, but further functional and genetic validation is needed.