Simian virus-40 (SV40) is a DNA tumour virus that was introduced into the human population with contaminated poliovirus vaccine, and its role in mesothelioma is widely debated. PCR based testing has been called into question, as false positives can be because of cross-reactivity with related viruses, or to laboratory contamination. The Institute of Medicine has recommended the development of more sensitive and specific tests to resolve this controversy.
We have characterized highly sensitive RT–PCR based assays that are specific for SV40-encoded microRNAs (miRNAs), as an alternative to current testing methods.
Using this sensitive and specific detection method, we were unable to identify SV40 miRNA expression in human malignant pleural mesothelioma (MM) samples.
Our work indicates that SV40 miRNAs are not likely to contribute to mesothelioma tumourogenesis, but highlights the value of this approach when compared with the relatively unspecific current testing methods.
Keywords: mesothelioma, microRNA, SV40