cancer 2-12

Detection of Merkel cell polyomavirus with a tumour-specific signature in non-small cell lung cancer.

Br J Cancer. 2013 Feb 19;108(3):629-37

Hashida Y, Imajoh M, Nemoto Y, Kamioka M, Taniguchi A, Taguchi T, Kume M, Orihashi K, Daibata M.

Department of Microbiology and Infection, Kochi Medical School, Kochi University, Nankoku, Kochi 783-8505, Japan.


BACKGROUND: We searched for a viral aetiology for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), focusing on Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV).

METHODS: We analysed 112 Japanese cases of NSCLC for the presence of the MCPyV genome and the expressions of RNA transcripts and MCPyV-encoded antigen. We also conducted the first analysis of the molecular features of MCPyV in lung cancers.

RESULTS: PCR revealed that 9 out of 32 squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), 9 out of 45 adenocarcinomas (ACs), 1 out of 32 large-cell carcinomas, and 1 out of 3 pleomorphic carcinomas were positive for MCPyV DNA. Some MCPyV DNA-positive cancers expressed large T antigen (LT) RNA transcripts. Immunohistochemistry showed that MCPyV LT antigen was expressed in the tumour cells. The viral integration sites were identified in one SCC and one AC. One had both episomal and integrated/truncated forms. The other carried an integrated MCPyV genome with frameshift mutations in the LT gene.

CONCLUSION: We have demonstrated the expression of a viral oncoprotein, the presence of integrated MCPyV, and a truncated LT gene with a preserved retinoblastoma tumour-suppressor protein-binding domain in NSCLCs. Although the viral prevalence was low, the tumour-specific molecular signatures support the possibility that MCPyV is partly associated with the pathogenesis of NSCLC in a subset of patients.

PMID: 23322199

Keywords: Lung cancer, tumor viruses, Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV), viral genome, tumorigenesis, patients, oncoprotein, infectious agent

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