Polyomavirus and Merkel Cell Tumors

Papers of the Month: April, 2012


Merkel cell carcinoma: a virus-induced human cancer.

Annu Rev Pathol. 2012;7:123-44. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA. yc70@pitt.edu


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Clonal integration of a polyomavirus in human Merkel cell carcinoma.

Science. 2008 Feb 22;319(5866):1096-100. Epub 2008 Jan 17.

Molecular Virology Program, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh, 5117 Centre Avenue, Suite 1.8, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


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Click here for Pubmed Abstract




Comments by Dr. Murray Gardner:

A great example of the power of PCR to detect a tiny bit(“needle in haystack”) of extraneous DNA in the tumor DNA, thanks to availability of the Human Genome Database and software programs to match up tumor cDNAs with genomic sequences. The data is completely convincing because of the number of positive tumor specimens worldwide and the fact that the clonally-intergrated extraneous DNA is part of the polyomavirus oncogene ( T-Ag ). Using this strategy one can anticipate that ” DNA footprints” of other ubiquitous members of our normal flora will show up in other strange places. But proving any biologic significance will be a tall order and PCR contamination will continue to haunt the scene -witness “HRV-5, “human MMTV” and “XMRV”.



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