SV40 Multiple Tissue Infection and Asbestos Exposure in a Hyperendemic Area for Malignant Mesothelioma

Cancer Research. 67, 8456-8459, September 15, 2007. [Link]

Comar M, Rizzardi C, de Zotti R, Melato M, Bovenzi M, Butel JS, Campello C.

Department of Public Medicine Sciences, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy.


To assess the presence of SV40 in malignant mesothelioma tissue, 19 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded pleural cancer samples of patients from a hyperendemic area of northeastern Italy were analyzed retrospectively. A total of 48 other tissues from the malignant mesothelioma subjects were investigated. The SV40 load was determined by real-time quantitative PCR. Exposure to asbestos was evaluated through a careful review of the occupational history of patients, supplemented by histology and isolation of asbestos bodies. Three of 19 (15.8%) malignant mesothelioma tissues harbored SV40 genomic signals. Two patients with SV40-positive malignant mesothelioma had viral sequences in another tissue. Overall, 3 of 18 (16.7%) normal liver tissues tested positive for SV40, as did 1 of 8 (12.5%) kidney tissues. SV40 viral loads were higher in malignant mesothelioma than in normal cells (P = 0.045). This survey shows that SV40 sustains infections in multiple tissues in malignant mesothelioma patients from a geographic area affected with asbestos-related mesothelioma.