JC Virus and Lung Adenocarcinoma: Fact or Myth?

Anticancer Res. 2017 Jun;37(6):3311-3314. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.11699.


Background/aim: An association has been reported between lung cancer and John Cunningham (JC) virus infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of JC virus in a small cohort of patients with lung adenocarcinoma and assess its presence in nodal metastasis.

Materials and methods: Consecutive samples of 13 surgically-removed lung tumors and 13 surrounding normal cancer-free tissues were selected. Five cases included metastatic lymph nodes. JC virus infection was assessed through nested PCR.

Results: Seven out of thirteen patients with lung adenocarcinoma had a positive PCR test for JC virus. One of the five patients with nodal metastasis had a positive PCR test for JC virus. None of the thirteen specimens from the control group presented with JC virus infection. The difference between the two groups regarding JC virus infection was statistically significant (p=0.008).

Conclusion: Our study suggests that JC virus might be involved in lung carcinogenesis.

Keywords: JC virus; T-antigen; lung adenocarcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adenocarcinoma / virology*
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Humans
  • JC Virus / genetics
  • JC Virus / isolation & purification*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Lung Neoplasms / virology*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polyomavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Polyomavirus Infections / virology*
  • Tumor Virus Infections / diagnosis
  • Tumor Virus Infections / virology*


  • DNA, Viral