First description of Merkel Cell polyomavirus DNA detection in a patient with Stevens-Johnson syndrome

Natalia Maximova, Marilena Granzotto, Valentina Kiren, Davide Zanon, Manola Comar

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Merkel Cell polyomavirus (MCPyV), a ubiquitous DNA tumor virus, has been found to be associated with Merkel cell carcinoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia while other associations are still being explored. MCPyV sequences have also been detected in normal tissues of tumor patients and in the blood of healthy donors. This report documents a new MCPyV association with the Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare immune-modulated mucocutaneous process particularly associated with specific drugs and infective agents. A high MCPyV viral load was detected simultaneously in fluid from skin lesions (2.0×104 copies/ml) and in matched blood (7.4×105 copies/ml) from a young adult patient after bone marrow transplant for a relapsed T-cell acute lymphatic leukaemia. MCPyV clearance concurred with the complete resolution of skin lesions after 5 days of cidofovir treatment. DNA sequencing classified the amplicons as the European/Italian MKL-1 strain. Given its ubiquitous nature, MCPyV could account for part of Stevens-Johnson syndrome idiopathic cases. J. Med. Virol. 85:918-923, 2013.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-923
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • Bone marrow transplantation
  • Cidofovir
  • Merkel cell polyomavirus
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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