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Simian virus 40 in human cancers

      Abstract

      Background

      Many studies have reported the presence of simian virus 40 (SV40) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or protein in human brain tumors and bone cancers, malignant mesothelioma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, the small samples and lack of control groups in some reports have made it difficult to assess their reliability.

      Methods

      Studies were included in this analysis if they met the following criteria: original studies of patients with primary brain tumors and bone cancers, malignant mesothelioma, or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; the investigation of SV40 was performed on primary cancer specimens; the analysis included a control group; and the same technique was used for cases and controls. Included reports were published from 1975 to 2002.

      Results

      Thirteen studies fulfilled the criteria for the investigation of primary brain cancers (661 tumors and 482 control samples). Specimens from patients with brain tumors were almost four times more likely to have evidence of SV40 infection than were those from controls (odds ratio [OR] = 3.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.6 to 5.8). The association was even stronger for mesothelioma (OR = 17; 95% CI: 10 to 28; based on 15 studies with 528 mesothelioma samples and 468 control samples) and for bone cancer (OR = 25; 95% CI: 6.8 to 88; based on four studies with 303 cancers and 121 control samples). SV40 DNA was also more frequent in samples from patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (OR = 5.4; 95% CI: 3.1 to 9.3; based on three studies with 301 cases and 578 control samples) than from controls.

      Conclusion

      These results establish that SV40 is associated significantly with brain tumors, bone cancers, malignant mesothelioma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Studies are needed to assess current prevalence of SV40 infections.
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