Significant Association Found With Simian Virus 40 And Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

American researchers have found that the simian virus 40 [SV40] is significantly associated with some types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Their results "add lymphomas to the types of human cancers associated with SV40." reports Dr Regis A Vilchez and colleagues from a number of departments associated with the Baylor Center for AIDS Research, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

Clinicians point out that non-Hodgkin lymphomas are a biologically diverse group of haematological malignancies, with clinical courses which can range from indolent to highly aggressive. There has been a striking increase over the last 30 years in associated morbidity and mortality. An estimated 55,000 new cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma are diagnosed each year in the United States.

Mortality from the disorder is ranked fourth among men and fifth among women for all cancer deaths. Clinician still do not fully understand why there is such increase in incidence, but a substantial number of cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma are linked to the HIV-1 epidemic.

Although no obvious risk factors for non-Hodgkin lymphoma have been found in the general population, there is speculation it could have a viral cause.

The researchers analysed systemic non-Hodgkin lymphoma from 76 HIV-1-infected and 78 HIV-1-uninfected patients, and non-malignant lymphoid samples from 79 HIV-1-positive and 107 HIV-1-negative patients without tumours. In addition, 54 colon and breast carcinoma samples served as cancer controls. The AIDS and Cancer Specimen Bank of the US National Cancer Institute, provided non-Hodgkin lymphoma samples and clinical data from 48 HIV-1-positive and 43 HIV-1-negative adult patients diagnosed at different American medical centres.

Polyomavirus T antigen sequences, all of which were SV40-specific, were detected in 64 (42 percent) of 154 non-Hodgkin lymphomas, none of 186 non-malignant lymphoid samples, and none of 54 control cancers. This difference was similar for HIV-1-infected patients and HIV-1-uninfected patients alike.

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