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To address the hypothesis that medulloblastoma or supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor (sPNET) can arise through infection by polyomaviruses, we examined genomic DNA isolated from 15 primary medulloblastoma and 5 sPNET biopsy specimens and from 2 medulloblastoma cell lines for the presence of DNA sequences from the polyomaviruses simian virus 40 (SV40), JC virus, and BK virus. These polyomaviruses have oncogenic potential in animals, and their DNA sequences have been detected in other surveys of various solid tumors, including childhood brain tumors. The tumor DNA samples were analyzed by Southern blot hybridization of polymerase chain reaction products that employed probes designed to detect specific polyomavirus sequences. Neither JC virus nor BK virus DNA sequences were detected in any of the specimens. None of the primary medulloblastoma or sPNET specimens contained SV40 sequences. However, SV40 DNA coding and noncoding sequences were detected in the D283-Med (medulloblastoma) cell line. Immunocytochemical studies of D283-Med revealed nuclear expression of SV40 large T antigen. In contrast to childhood ependymomas and choroid plexus tumors, medulloblastomas and sPNETs infrequently express evidence of polyomavirus infection.