Report

Clonal Integration of a Polyomavirus in Human Merkel Cell Carcinoma

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  22 Feb 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5866, pp. 1096-1100
DOI: 10.1126/science.1152586

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Abstract

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare but aggressive human skin cancer that typically affects elderly and immunosuppressed individuals, a feature suggestive of an infectious origin. We studied MCC samples by digital transcriptome subtraction and detected a fusion transcript between a previously undescribed virus T antigen and a human receptor tyrosine phosphatase. Further investigation led to identification and sequence analysis of the 5387–base-pair genome of a previously unknown polyomavirus that we call Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV or MCPyV). MCV sequences were detected in 8 of 10 (80%) MCC tumors but only 5 of 59 (8%) control tissues from various body sites and 4 of 25 (16%) control skin tissues. In six of eight MCV-positive MCCs, viral DNA was integrated within the tumor genome in a clonal pattern, suggesting that MCV infection and integration preceded clonal expansion of the tumor cells. Thus, MCV may be a contributing factor in the pathogenesis of MCC.

View Full Text