Simian virus (SV) 40 like sequences in cell lines and tumour biopsies from Australian malignant mesotheliomas

B. R. McLaren, T. Haenel, S. Stevenson, S. Mukherjee, B. W.S. Robinson, R. A. Lake

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Background: Simian virus (SV) 40 sequences have been found in some, but not all studies of mesotheliomas. This virus is known to cause tumours in rodents but its role in human oncogenesis remains controversial. Aims: The aim of this study therefore was to determine whether SV40 is associated with the development of mesotheliomas in Australia. The absence of the virus or its gene products in tissue derived from mesotheliomas would detract from this possibility. Methods: We used polymerase chain reaction from three pairs of primers to amplify different regions of the large T antigen from DNA from cell lines and cDNA from both cell lines and an independent set of tumour biopsies from patients with mesothelioma. Results: We examined five human mesothelioma cell lines that were established in our laboratories. In addition, we examined several tumour biopsies from seven different patients. SV40 like sequences were present in all the cell lines and in at least one sample from each of the patients examined. Conclusions: The large T antigen of SV40 or an SV40 like virus is expressed in Australian mesotheliomas and therefore could be aetiologically-associated with tumourigenesis. Alternatively, these sequences could be expressed subsequent to the development of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-456
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Mesothelioma
  • PCR
  • SV40


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