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Br J Cancer. 2005 Feb 28;92(4):747-50.

Detection of human cytomegalovirus genome and gene products in central nervous system tumours.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Purpan Hospital, Place Baylak, 31059 Toulouse Cedex, France.


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) genome and related proteins have been reported in a great proportion of malignant gliomas. However, these results are unexpected since HCMV is not known as an oncogenic virus. By immunohistochemistry (with an anti-IE1 monoclonal antibody) and in situ hybridisation (with biotinylated DNA probes) on tissue microarrays and frozen sections, we investigated a French series of central nervous system (CNS) tumours, including 97 glioblastomas. In 10 cases of glioblastoma, rare astrocyte-like cells, admixed with tumour cells, stained positively for HCMV and in one case a doubtful staining of rare cells was noticed. This may indicate a reactivation of the virus under local immunosuppression but none of the cases of CNS tumours (n=132) contained HCMV genomes and/or proteins in a significant proportion of tumour cells. Our results strongly suggest that HCMV is unlikely to be implicated in the development of human malignant gliomas, at least in French cases.

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