Simian virus 40 (SV40) is a monkey virus that induces ependymomas, choroid plexus tumors, mesotheliomas, osteosarcomas, sarcomas and true histiocytic lymphomas when injected in hamsters. Recently, approximately 60% of human ependymomas, choroid plexus tumors and mesotheliomas were reported to contain and express SV40-like sequences (N. Engl. J. Med., 1992, 36, 988-993; Oncogene, 1994, 9, 1781-1790). In this study the presence of SV40-like sequences was investigated in additional types of human tumors. Initially, 200 tumor and normal tissue DNA samples were analysed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with primers that amplify a 574 base pair region of SV40 large T antigen (Tag), which includes the Rb-pocket binding domain and the intron of Tag. PCR amplification and Southern blot hybridization with a probe specific for SV40 Tag revealed that 18/200 samples contained SV40-like sequences and, unexpectedly, 11/18 were from patients with osteosarcomas. Additional DNA samples from bone tumors were then analysed. In 40/126 osteosarcomas, and 14/34 other bone-related tumors, Tag sequences could be amplified. Sequence analysis of the DNA amplified from seven different tumors confirmed that the amplified sequences corresponded to SV40 Tag, with some demonstrating deletions in the intron region but not in the Rb-pocket binding domain. The extent of SV40 genome sequences present in the DNA samples was further analysed in two osteosarcomas. PCR amplification, Southern blot hybridization, and sequence analysis revealed that these samples also contained sequences for the carboxy-terminal domain of Tag, the viral regulatory region, and the VP1 capsid protein. These results indicate that SV40-like sequences are present in human bone tumors.