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Disease Markers
Volume 17, Issue 3, Pages 167-172

Increasing Evidence for Involvement of SV40 in Human Cancer

Janet S. Butel

Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, 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.


SV40, a small DNA virus, is known to possess strong oncogenic potential. Millions of people were exposed to SV40 as an unknown contaminant of some early poliovaccines. This article briefly summarizes the increasing evidence of the association of SV40 with certain types of human cancer, including mesotheliomas and brain tumors. Unanswered questions pertaining to the pathogenesis of human infections by SV40 and the functional role of the virus in tumor development are noted. It is concluded that SV40 should be considered a candidate human tumor virus and that vigorous efforts to clarify the role of the virus in human disease should be supported.