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Int J Cancer. 1995 Jun 9;61(6):756-60.

High incidence of BK virus large-T-antigen-coding sequences in normal human tissues and tumors of different histotypes.

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Institute of Histology and General Embryology, University of Ferrara, Italy.


T-antigen (TAg) coding sequences specific for BK virus (BKV) were detected, by PCR amplification followed by Southern-blot hybridization, in a high percentage of human tumors and tumor-cell lines, as well as in normal tissues, by analysis of 189 specimens. Specifically, the BKV early region was detected in 85% of brain tumors and in all normal brain tissues, in 78% of osteosarcomas, in 38% of Ewing's tumors, in 40% of normal bone specimens and in 71% of normal peripheral blood cell samples. Wilms' tumor tissues used as a control were all negative for BKV sequences. RT-PCR analysis indicated that TAg coding sequences were expressed in specimens carrying BKV early region, ranging from 64% of the osteosarcomas to 100% of glioblastomas, Ewing's tumors, peripheral blood cells and normal bone. Moreover, DNA sequencing performed in 12 different positive samples revealed that the amplified PCR products are identical to the early-region sequence of wild-type BKV. The role of BKV TAg and its possible mechanism of action in human tumorigenesis are discussed.

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