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PLoS One. 2017 Mar 3;12(3):e0172308. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172308. eCollection 2017.

Viruses in case series of tumors: Consistent presence in different cancers in the same subject.

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Division of Pathology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Studies investigating presence of viruses in cancer often analyze case series of cancers, resulting in detection of many viruses that are not etiologically linked to the tumors where they are found. The incidence of virus-associated cancers is greatly increased in immunocompromised individuals. Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is also greatly increased and a variety of viruses have been detected in NMSC. As immunosuppressed patients often develop multiple independent NMSCs, we reasoned that viruses consistently present in independent tumors might be more likely to be involved in tumorigenesis. We sequenced 8 different NMSCs from 1 patient in comparison to 8 different NMSCs from 8 different patients. Among the latter, 12 different virus sequences were detected, but none in more than 1 tumor each. In contrast, the patient with multiple NMSCs had human papillomavirus type 15 and type 38 present in 6 out of 8 NMSCs.

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