Journal of Oncology 2022 July 15 [Link]

Elisa Mazzoni, Ilaria Bononi, John Charles Rotondo, Chiara Mazziotta, Roberta Libener, Roberto Guaschino, Roberta Gafà, Giovanni Lanza, Fernanda Martini, Mauro Tognon


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a fatal tumor, is mainly linked to the asbestos exposure. It has been reported that together with the inhalation of asbestos fibers, other factors are involved in the MPM onset, including simian virus 40 (SV40). SV40, a polyomavirus with oncogenic potential, induces (i) in vitro the mesenchymal cell transformation, whereas (ii) in vivo the MPM onset in experimental animals. The association between MPM and SV40 in humans remains to be elucidated. Sera (n = 415) from MPM-affected patients (MPM cohort 1; n = 152) and healthy subjects (HSs, n = 263) were investigated for their immunoglobulin G (IgG) against simian virus 40 large tumor antigen (Tag), which is the transforming protein. Sera were investigated with an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using two synthetic peptides from SV40 Tag protein. SV40 Tag protein was evaluated by immunohistochemical (IHC) staining on MPM samples (MPM cohort 2; n = 20). Formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples were obtained from MPM patients unrelated to MPM serum donors. The proportion of sera, from MPM patients, showing antibodies against SV40 Tag (34%) was significantly higher compared to HSs (20%) (odds ratio 2.049, CI 95% 1.32-3.224; p=0.0026). Immunohistochemical staining (IHS) assays showed SV40 Tag expression in 8/20, 40% of MPM specimens. These results indicate that SV40 is linked to a large fraction of MPM. It is worth noting that the prevalence of SV40 Tag antibodies detected in sera from cohort 1 of MPM patients is similar to the prevalence of SV40 Tag found to be expressed in FFPE tissues from MPM cohort 2.