Investigation of leukemia cells from children with common acute lymphoblastic leukemia for genomic sequences of the primate polyomaviruses JC virus, BK virus, and simian virus 40

Malcolm A. Smith, Howard D. Strickler, Monica Granovsky, Gregory Reaman, Martha Linet, Richard Daniel, Keerti V. Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Background. An infectious etiology for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has long been suspected, although the characteristics of the putative childhood ALL-inducing agent(s) remain a mystery. We describe the testing of ALL leukemia cells for the presence of DNA sequences of the polyomavirus family: JC virus, BK virus, and simian virus 40 (SV40). Procedure. Cryopreserved leukemia cells from 25 children between 2 and 5 years of age at the time of diagnosis and classified as having 'common' ALL (B-precursor ALL expressing the CD19 and CD10 surface antigens) were tested for the presence of polyomavirus sequences using standard PCR methods. Results. Human β-globin gene sequences were detected in 22 of 25 leukemia specimens. However, polyomavirus sequences were not detected in any of the 22 specimens with amplifiable DNA. Conclusions. The inability to detect JC virus, BK virus, and SV40 virus DNA sequences in any of the 22 specimens with amplifiable DNA suggests that that these members of the polyomavirus family are unlikely to be causally associated with most childhood ALL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-443
Number of pages3
JournalMedical and Pediatric Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 1999



  • ALL
  • BK virus
  • JC virus
  • Leukemia
  • Simian virus 40

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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