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Pathol Oncol Res. 2016 Oct;22(4):667-72. doi: 10.1007/s12253-016-0048-7. Epub 2016 Feb 15.

Detection of Merkel Cell Polyomavirus and Human Papillomavirus in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinomas and Non-Cancerous Esophageal Samples in Northern Iran.

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Infectious Diseases & Tropical Medicine Research Center, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran.
Cellular and Molecular Biology Research Center, Health Research Institute, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran.
Department of Epidemiology and Reproductive Health, Reproductive Epidemiology Research Center, Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine, ACECR, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Pathology, Babol university of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran.


Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is one of the hypothesized causes of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), but the etiological association remains uncertain. It was postulated that other infectious agents together with HPV may increase the risk of ESCC. The current investigation aimed to explore the presence of a new human tumor virus, Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV), together with HPV in ESCC tumors and non-cancerous esophageal samples in northern Iran. In total, 96 esophageal samples (51 with ESCC, and 45 without esophageal malignancy) were examined. HPV DNA was detected in esophageal specimens of 16 out of the 51 ESCC cases (31.4 %) and 20 out of the 45 non-cancerous samples (44.4 %). Untypable HPV genotypes were recognized in high rates in cancerous (75.0 %) and non-cancerous (55.0 %) esophageal specimens. MCPyV DNA was detected in esophageal specimens of 23 out of the 51 ESCC cases (45.1 %) and 16 out of the 45 non-cancerous samples (35.6 %). The mean MCPyV DNA copy number was 1.0 × 10(-5) ± 2.4 × 10(-5) and 6.0 × 10(-6) ± 1.3 × 10(-5) per cell in ESCC cases and non-cancerous samples, respectively. There was no statistically significant difference between cancerous and non-cancerous samples regarding mean MCPyV DNA load (P = 0.353). A bayesian logistic regression model adjusted to the location of esophageal specimen and MCPyV infection, revealed a significant association between HPV and odds of ESCC (OR, 2.45; 95 % CI: 1.01-6.16). This study provides the evidence of the detection of the MCPyV DNA at a low viral copy number in cancerous and non- cancerous esophageal samples.


Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Human papillomavirus; Merkel cell polyomavirus; Oncogenic viruses

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