No excess risk for colorectal cancer among subjects seropositive for the JC polyomavirus

Int J Cancer. 2007 Sep 1;121(5):1098-102. doi: 10.1002/ijc.22770.


The human polyomaviruses JC virus (JCV) and BK virus (BKV) are oncogenic in experimental systems and commonly infect humans. JCV DNA has been reported to be present in human colon mucosa and in colorectal cancers. To investigate whether the risk for colorectal cancer is associated with JCV or BKV infection, we performed a case-control study nested in the Janus biobank, a cohort of 330,000 healthy Norwegian subjects. A 30-year prospective follow-up using registry linkages identified 386 men with colorectal cancer who had baseline serum samples taken >3 months before diagnosis. Control subjects were matched for sex, age and date of blood sampling and county of residence. Seropositivity for JCV or BKV had high (97-100%) sensitivity for detection of viral DNA-positive subjects and discriminated the different polyomaviruses. Seropositivity was mostly stable over time in serial samples. The relative risk for colorectal cancer among JCV seropositive subjects was 0.9 (95% CI: 0.7-1.3) and the BKV-associated relative risk was 1.1 (95% CI: 0.8-1.5). Determining seropositivity using alternative cutoffs also found no evidence of excess risk. In summary, this prospective study found no association between JCV or BKV infections and excess risk for colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / virology
  • Humans
  • JC Virus / isolation & purification*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity