Infectious Agents and Cancer
BACKGROUND: Glioblastoma (GBM) is a fatal CNS malignancy, representing 50 % of all gliomas with approximately 12-18 months survival time after initial diagnosis. Recently, the human herpesvirus cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been suggested to have an oncogenic role, yet this association remains controversial. In addition, human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) have also been associated with low-grade gliomas, but few studies have examined HHV-6 and EBV in glioblastomas. Droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) is a highly precise diagnostic tool that enables the absolute quantification of target DNA. This study examines the association between multiple human herpesviruses and astrocytomas.
METHODS: This study analyzed 112 brain tissue specimens, including 45 glioblastoma, 12 astrocytoma grade III, 2 astrocytoma grade II, 4 astrocytoma grade I, and 49 controls. All brain tissue samples were de-identified and pathologically confirmed. Each tissue block was sectioned for DNA extraction and CMV, EBV, HHV-6A and HHV-6B, and a cellular housekeeping gene were amplified by ddPCR.
RESULTS: Neither CMV nor HHV-6A were detected in any of the astrocytoma samples. However, HHV-6B (p = 0.147) and EBV (p = 0.049) had a higher positivity frequency in the GBM compared to the controls.
CONCLUSION: The undetectable CMV DNA in the astrocytoma cohort does not support the observation of an increased prevalence of CMV DNA in GBM, as reported in other studies. EBV has a significantly higher positivity in the GBM cohort compared to the controls, while HHV-6B has a higher but not statistically significant positivity in the case cohort. Whether these viruses play an oncogenic role in GBM remains to be further investigated.
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Lin, C., Leibovitch, E. C., Almira-Suarez, M. I., & Jacobson, S. (2016). Human herpesvirus multiplex ddPCR detection in brain tissue from low- and high-grade astrocytoma cases and controls.. Infectious Agents and Cancer, 11 (). http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13027-016-0081-x