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No role for simian virus 40 in human pleural mesotheliomas

the apparent detection of SV40 DNA in some human tumors was first reported," explained Fernando Lopez-Rios, M.D., of the Department of Pathology and the study's lead author. "An important aspect of our study was that the availability of frozen mesothelioma tumor samples allowed us to search for SV40 RNA (an expected product of functional SV40 DNA), which has never been studied in a large series of mesotheliomas, and to show that it is completely absent."

Their study presents multiple lines of evidence against the proposed link between SV40 and human mesotheliomas. As part of their ongoing research into the biology of human pleural mesothelioma, this team of MSKCC investigators searched for SV40 DNA, RNA, or protein in frozen tissue samples from 71 human pleural mesotheliomas. According to the study, the methodology used by most researchers for the detection of SV40 DNA is associated with a high risk of false positive results. Therefore, the authors propose that data on SV40 in human tumors need to be carefully re-examined.

"Our previous work on mesothelioma showed that about 80 percent of tumors have lost both copies of the tumor suppressor gene designated p16 or CDKN2A, and this led us to ask whether SV40 infection might be a possible mechanism in the remaining 20 percent," said Marc Ladanyi, M.D., Director, Diagnostic Molecular Pathology Laboratory, and the study's senior author. "But instead we found no evidence for SV40 in these tumors and our experiments show for the first time how the assays commonly used to detect SV40 DNA in human tumors are uniquely prone to false-positive results. We hope these results will hasten progress on this deadly cancer."


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Contact: Joanne Nicholas
mediastaff@mskcc.org
212-639-3573
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
23-Sep-2004


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