Review

Oncogene (2003) 22, 5164–5172. doi:10.1038/sj.onc.1206547

SV40 in human brain cancers and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Regis A Vilchez1,2 and Janet S Butel1

  1. 1Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA
  2. 2Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA

Correspondence: JS Butel, Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Mail Stop BCM-385, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA. E-mail: jbutel@bcm.tmc.edu

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Abstract

Simian virus 40 (SV40) is a potent DNA tumor virus that is known to induce primary brain cancers and lymphomas in laboratory animals. SV40 oncogenesis is mediated by the viral large tumor antigen (T-ag), which inactivates the tumor-suppressor proteins p53 and pRb family members. During the last decade, independent studies using different molecular biology techniques have shown the presence of SV40 DNA, T-ag, or other viral markers in primary human brain cancers, and a systematic assessment of the data indicates that the virus is significantly associated with this group of human tumors. In addition, recent large independent studies showed that SV40 T-ag DNA is significantly associated with human non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Although the prevalence of SV40 infections in humans is not known, numerous observations suggest that SV40 is a pathogen in the human population today. This review examines the molecular biology, pathology, and clinical data implicating SV40 in the pathogenesis of primary human brain cancers and NHL and discusses future research directions needed to define a possible etiologic role for SV40 in these malignancies.

Keywords:

SV40, human cancers, brain tumors, non-Hodgkin'slymphoma