Detection of viral DNA sequences in sporadic colorectal cancers in relation to CpG island methylation and methylator phenotype

Tumour Biol. 2011 Aug;32(4):653-9. doi: 10.1007/s13277-011-0165-6. Epub 2011 Apr 6.


There is evidence that insertion of viral DNA into a mammalian genome can lead to alterations of methylation patterns. The aim of the present study was to examine the presence of DNA sequences of five human DNA viruses (assessed by PCR): JC polyoma virus (JCV), human adenovirus (AdV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV8) and human papillomavirus (HPV) in a cohort of 186 sporadic colorectal cancers (CRCs) and related these data with the methylation status of six CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP)-specific genes (MLH1, CACNA1G, NEUROG1, IGF2, SOCS1, RUNX3) and seven cancer-related genes markers (p16, MINT1, MINT2, MINT31, EN1, SCTR and INHBB) assessed by methylation-specific PCR in 186 and 134 CRC cases, respectively. The AdV, KSHV and HPV were detected in four (2%), two (1%) and zero CRC cases, respectively, and thus were excluded from further analyses. Although 19% and 9% of the CRCs were positive for EBV and JCV, respectively, no associations between virus presence and CpG island methylation were found after correction for multiple testing. Our results demonstrate that the presence of DNA sequences of JCV and EBV in CRC is unrelated to the methylation of the 13 cancer-related CpG islands and CIMP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / virology*
  • CpG Islands / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • DNA, Viral / genetics*
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 8, Human / genetics
  • Humans
  • JC Virus / genetics
  • Male
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • DNA, Viral