The incidence of malignant mesothelioma (MM) shows a strong epidemiological association with exposure to asbestos fibers. Recently, simian virus 40 (SV40) DNA sequences have been reported in MM tumor specimens from the United States and several European countries, and the SV40 tumor virus has been implicated as a potential co-factor in the etiology of this disease. However, several large studies from the US, Finland, and Turkey did not detect SV40 sequences in MM samples. To address this discrepancy, MM specimens from Turkey and the US were analyzed in the same laboratory under identical conditions to detect the presence of SV40 DNA. We detected SV40 sequences in 4 of 11 specimens from the United States, but in none of the 9 Turkish samples examined. These findings suggest that geographical differences exist with regard to the involvement of SV40 in human tumors.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.