Merkel cell polyomavirus and merkel cell carcinoma

V. Pietropaolo, C. Prezioso, U. Moens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Viruses are the cause of approximately 15% of all human cancers. Both RNA and DNA human tumor viruses have been identified, with Merkel cell polyomavirus being the most recent one to be linked to cancer. This virus is associated with about 80% of Merkel cell carcinomas, a rare, but aggressive cutaneous malignancy. Despite its name, the cells of origin of this tumor may not be Merkel cells. This review provides an update on the structure and life cycle, cell tropism and epidemiology of the virus and its oncogenic properties. Putative strategies to prevent viral infection or treat virus-positive Merkel cell carcinoma patients are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-38
Number of pages38
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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