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Thomas Flaig, MD


Is Infection With Human Polyomavirus a Causative Factor in Bladder Cancer in Southern Iran?

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Infection with human polyomavirus does not appear to be a causative factor of bladder carcinogenesis among patients in southern Iran, according to the results of a study published in Infectious Agents and Cancer. “Environmental risk factors and genetic backgrounds may have a more prominent role than human polyomaviruses in the development of bladder cancer in [the] South of Iran,” stated Reza Taherkhani, PhD, and Fatemeh Farshadpour, PhD, both of Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Iran.

The study enrolled 211 patients with bladder cancer from the northern shores of the Persian Gulf in the South of Iran. Bladder biopsy samples from each patient were tested for BK polyomavirus and John Cunningham (JK) polyomavirus; samples from patients with interstitial cystitis (n = 11) and fresh frozen samples of healthy bladder from deceased persons (n = 19) were tested as well.

BK polyomavirus and JC polyomavirus were detected in 1.7% and 6.1% of bladder cancer samples, respectively. These samples were infected with JC polyomavirus genotypes 2, 3, and 6 and BK polyomavirus genotypes I and IV; coinfection with both BK polyomavirus and JC polyomavirus was detected in two samples. Additionally, one healthy bladder sample was positive for BK polyomavirus, and one interstitial cystitis sample was positive for JC polyomavirus.

The prevalence of BK polyomavirus and JC polyomavirus among patients with bladder cancer was not statistically associated with age, gender, place of residency, and stage and grade of bladder cancer. However, most infected patients were between the ages of 70 and 79, male, residents in Tangestan, had stage Ta–T1 disease, and had low-grade and high-grade papillary urothelial carcinoma.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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