Are human polyomaviruses co-factors for cancers induced by other oncoviruses?
Ugo Moens1, Marijke Van Ghelue, and Bernhard Ehlers
SUMMARY: Presently, 12 human polyomaviruses are known: BK polyomavirus (BKPyV), JCPyV, KIPyV, WUPyV, Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV), HPyV6, HPyV7, Trichodysplasia spinulosa-associated polyomavirus, HPyV9, HPyV10, STLPyV and HPyV12. In addition, the non-human primate polyomavirus simian virus 40 (SV40) seems to circulate in the human population. MCPyV was first described in 2008 and is now accepted to be an etiological factor in about 80% of the rare but aggressive skin cancer Merkel cell carcinoma. SV40, BKPyV and JCPyV or part of their genomes can transform cells, including human cells, and induce tumours in animal models. Moreover, DNA and RNA sequences and proteins of these three viruses have been discovered in tumour tissue. Despite these observations, their role in cancer remains controversial. So far, an association between cancer and the other human polyomaviruses is lacking. Because human polyomavirus DNA has been found in a broad spectrum of cell types, simultaneous dwelling with other oncogenic viruses is possible. Co-infecting human polyomaviruses may therefore act as a co-factor in the development of cancer, including those induced by other oncoviruses. Reviewing studies that report co-infection with human polyomaviruses and other tumour viruses in cancer tissue fail to detect a clear link between co-infection and cancer. Directions for future studies to elaborate on a possible auxiliary role of human polyomaviruses in cancer are suggested, and the mechanisms by which human polyomaviruses may synergize with other viruses in oncogenic transformation are discussed. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Rev Med Virol 2014 1099-1654. DOI - 10.1002/rmv.1798