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Disease Markers
Volume 17 (2001), Issue 3, Pages 143-147

Human Neurotropic JC Virus and Its Association with Brain Tumors

Kamel Khalili

Center for Neurovirology and Cancer Biology, College of Science and Technology, Temple University, 1900 North 12th Street, 015-96, Room 203, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA

Received 31 October 2001; Accepted 31 October 2001

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


JC virus (JCV) is a human polyomavirus known as the causative agent of the fatal demyelinating disease, Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML). Further, in experimental animals this virus causes a broad range of tumors of central nervous system origin. Recent studies have suggested the association of JCV with several human tumors most notably malignant brain tumors of childhood, medulloblastoma. The development of tumors by JCV is most likely through mechanisms involving inactivation of tumor suppressors and de-regulation of signaling pathways such as Wnt by the viral early protein, T-antigen. The neurotropic nature of JCV along with the overwhelming evidence for its oncogenic potential in laboratory animals and its detection in significant numbers of human medulloblastomas invite the re-evaluation of the role for JCV in the development of human brain tumors.