Distribution, characterization and significance of polyomavirus genomic sequences in tumors of the brain and its covering

Serena Delbue, Elisabetta Pagani, Franca R. Guerini, Cristina Agliardi, Roberta Mancuso, Elisa Borghi, Francesca Rossi, Renzo Boldorini, Claudia Veggiani, Pier Giorgio Car, Pasquale Ferrante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The etiology of brain tumors and meningiomas is still unknown. Several factors have been considered, such as genetic predisposition and environmental risk factors, but the hypothesis that one or more infectious agents may play a role in tumor pathogenesis has also been investigated. Therefore, emphasis was placed on the neurooncogenic family polyomaviridae and the presence of human polyomavirus DNA sequences and JCV mRNA were examined in malignant human brain biopsies. Italian patients affected with different types of neoplasias of the brain and its covering were enrolled. The patients underwent surgical tumor excision and the presence of the polyomavirus genome in biopsy and other body fluids was evaluated by PCR. In addition, the genomic organization of JCV was examined in depth, with the aim of providing information on genotype distribution and TCR rearrangements in the population affected with intracranial neoplasms. On the whole, polyomavirus DNA was found in 50% of the biopsy specimens studied, JC virus DNA and BK virus DNA were amplified in 40.6% mainly glioblastomas and 9.4% of the tissue specimens, respectively, while none of the biopsy specimens tested contained Simian virus 40 DNA. Genotype 1 and Mad 4 TCR organization were the most frequent in the population enrolled. Although a cause and effect was not demonstrated and the specific role of the viruses remains unknown, the findings appear to confirm the hypothesis that JCV and BKV could be important co-factors in tumor pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-454
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


  • Brain neoplasia
  • JC virus
  • Large T antigen
  • Transcriptional control region TCR
  • Viral protein 1 VP1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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