Research Papers:

Polyomaviruses detectable in head and neck carcinomas

Leonard Poluschkin, Jaana Rautava, Aaro Turunen, Yilin Wang, Klaus Hedman, Kari Syrjänen, Reidar Grenman and Stina Syrjänen _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:22642-22652. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25202

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Leonard Poluschkin1, Jaana Rautava1,2, Aaro Turunen1, Yilin Wang3, Klaus Hedman3, Kari Syrjänen4, Reidar Grenman5 and Stina Syrjänen1,2

1Department of Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology, Institute of Dentistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku, 20520 Turku, Finland

2Department of Pathology, Turku University Hospital, 20521 Turku, Finland

3Department of Virology, University of Helsinki, and Helsinki University Hospital, 00290 Helsinki, Finland

4Department of Clinical Research, Biohit Oyj, 00880 Helsinki, Finland

5Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, 20520 Turku, Finland

Correspondence to:

Stina Syrjänen, email: [email protected]

Keywords: polyomaviruses; SV40; JCV; BKV; head and neck cancer

Received: July 02, 2017     Accepted: March 22, 2018     Published: April 27, 2018


Polyomaviruses (PyV) independent or jointly with human papillomavirus (HPV), might have a role in head and neck carcinomas (HNSCC). We analyzed the prevalence and viral DNA loads of SV40, JCV and BKV with quantitative PCR (qPCR) and all 13 HPyVs with a novel Multiplex method in 82 HNSCC samples with known HPV status and disease-specific survival (DSS) and 24 HNSCC cell lines.

JCV was the most prevalent PyV present in 37% of HNSCC and the most prevalent sites were lip (80%), larynx (67%) and oral cavity (59%). JCV viral load was highest in larynx but variation was wide (152514 mean copies/μg DNA, SD± 304820). BKV was found only in one oral carcinoma with low viral load. SV40 was detected in 60% lip and 20.7% oral carcinomas with low copy numbers (6.6- 23.7 copies/μg DNA). Altogether, 86% of JCV-positive samples were co-infected with HPV (p=0.001), with no impact on DSS. Agreement between qPCR and Multiplex methods was substantial (Cohen's kappa= 0.659). Multiplex method detected additional HPyV in five samples. JCV was found in 9/24 HNSCC cell lines, all deriving from oral cavity. Our data provide evidence that JCV might have a role in HNSCC as independent virus or co-factor of HPV.

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