Patients with sporadic colorectal cancer or advanced adenomatous polyp have elevated anti-JC virus antibody titer in comparison with healthy controls: a cross-sectional study

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2010 Aug;44(7):489-94. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3181d7a347.


Objective: JC virus (JCV) is thought to infect approximately 80% of the human population. Antibodies against JCV can be found in the sera of many people with and without colorectal carcinoma (CRC). We hypothesized that JCV antibody titer will be higher in CRC patients than in healthy controls.

Aim: To evaluate this hypothesis in a cohort of patients undergoing colonoscopy. We compared JCV antibody titers in patients with simple adenoma, advanced adenomatous polyp (AAP), CRC, and healthy controls, and evaluated JCV DNA in the tissue.

Methods: Ninety-seven patients undergoing colonoscopy offered to participate in the study. Normal colonoscopy, simple adenoma, AAP, and CRC were found in 41, 19, 12, and 25 cases, respectively. A blood sample was taken for JCV DNA isolation and serology. In 18 patients with CRC or AAP tissue samples were taken for JCV DNA isolation and T-antigen (T-Ag) detection.

Results: A positive correlation was found between a JCV antibody titer and advanced colonic pathology. The average titer for normal controls, simple polyp, AAP, and CRC was 2.61+/-0.72, 2.95+/-0.77, 3.33+/-0.76, and 3.30+/-0.50 log, respectively (P<0.001). Viral DNA could not be shown in the serum. The presence of neoplastic tissue T-Ag (in 33.3% of the patients) was not associated with a difference in the log titer of serum antibody.

Conclusions: In this study we showed that patients with advanced neoplasia, compared with patients with normal colonoscopy, harbor a higher JCV antibody titer in the serum. If confirmed, our finding may serve as a marker for CRC or for an earlier stage of AAP.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnosis
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Adenoma / virology*
  • Adenomatous Polyps / diagnosis
  • Adenomatous Polyps / pathology
  • Adenomatous Polyps / virology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies / blood
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Antigens, Viral, Tumor / immunology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / virology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Humans
  • JC Virus / immunology*
  • JC Virus / isolation & purification
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies
  • Antigens, Viral, Tumor
  • DNA, Viral