Human cytomegalovirus infection in tumor cells of the nervous system is not detectable with standardized pathologico-virological diagnostics

Peter Baumgarten, Martin Michaelis, Florian Rothweiler, Tatjana Starzetz, Holger F. Rabenau, Annemarie Berger, Lukas Jennewein, Anne K. Braczynski, Kea Franz, Volker Seifert, Joachim P. Steinbach, Regina Allwinn, Michel Mittelbronn*, Jindrich Cinatl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Experimental findings have suggested that human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection of tumor cells may exert oncomodulatory effects that enhance tumor malignancy. However, controversial findings have been published on the presence of HCMV in malignant tumors. Here, we present the first study that systematically investigates HCMV infection in human nervous system tumors by highly sensitive immunohistochemistry in correlation with the HCMV serostatus of the patients. Methods: Immunohistochemical and quantitative PCR-based methods to detect different HCMV antigens and genomic HCMV DNA were optimized prior to the investigation of pathological samples. Moreover, the pathological results were matched with the HCMV serostatus of the patients. Results: HCMV immediate-early, late, and pp65 antigens could be detected in single cells from HCMV strain Hi91-infected UKF-NB-4 neuroblastoma cells after 1:1024 dilution with noninfected UKF-NB-4 cells. Genomic HCMV DNA could be detected in copy numbers as low as 430 copies/mL. However, we did not detect HCMV in tumors from a cohort of 123 glioblastoma, medulloblastoma, or neuroblastoma patients. Notably, we detected nonspecifically positive staining in tumor tissues of HCMV seropositive and seronegative glioblastoma patients. The HCMV serostatus of 67 glioblastoma patients matched the general epidemiological prevalence data for Western countries (72% of female and 57% of male glioblastoma patients were HCMV seropositive). Median survival was not significantly different in HCMV seropositive versus seronegative glioblastoma patients. Conclusions: The prevalence of HCMV-infected tumor cells may be much lower than previously reported based on highly sensitive detection methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1469-1477
Number of pages9
JournalNeuro-Oncology
Volume16
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Glioma
  • Oncomodulation

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