Investigation of human brain tumors for the presence of polyomavirus genome sequences by two independent laboratories

Dana E.M. Rollison, Utaiwan Utaipat, Caroline Ryschkewitsch, Jean Hou, Patricia Goldthwaite, Richard Daniel, Kathy J. Helzlsouer, Peter C. Burger, Keerti V. Shah, Eugene O. Major

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


JC virus (JCV), BK virus (BKV) and simian virus 40 (SV40) may be associated with human brain tumors. These polyomaviruses have been shown to induce brain tumors in experimentally infected animals. Several studies have found polyomavirus genomic sequences in human brain tumor tissues by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), while others have not. Inconsistencies in previous findings may be due in part to small sample sizes and differences in underlying patient populations, laboratory techniques and quality control measures. To assess the role of polyomaviruses in human brain tumors and address inconsistencies of previous reports, we investigated the prevalence of viral sequences in a series of 225 brain tumor tissue specimens in 2 independent laboratories. PCR followed by Southern hybridization was performed at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Real-time quantitative PCR was performed on the same tissues at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Only those tumors with amplifiable DNA were tested further for polyomavirus sequences. Positive and negative control tissues were included, and all specimens were masked. Amplifiable DNA was detected in 225/225 (100%) tumors at NINDS, 9 (4%) of which contained polyomavirus sequences (3 JCV-positive, 3 BKV-positive and 3 SV40-positive). The JHU laboratory amplified DNA from 165/225 (73%) tumors, of which 1 tumor tested positive (for SV40). No tumors tested positive in both laboratories. Results for masked quality control tissues were concordant between laboratories. Nucleotide sequences for JCV, BKV and SV40 are rarely present in a large series of adult and pediatric brain tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-774
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 20 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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