Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) has been found in patients with Merkel cell carcinoma and respiratory tract infections. Merkel cell carcinoma is a primary aggressive neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin. It has been demonstrated that MCPyV can be transmitted during sexual activity and may be present in the oral and anogenital mucosa. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether MCPyV coexisted with HPV in three cases of neuroendocrine small cell carcinoma of the cervix using PCR and immunohistochemical analysis Three cases of NSC of the cervix were identified in the pathology archives of Parma University (Italy). Of these, two cases were associated with an adenocarcinomatous component. A set of general primers from the L1 region (forward, L1C1 and reverse, L1C2 or L1C2M) was PCR amplified to detect the broad‑spectrum DNA of genital HPV. The presence of MCPyV was investigated via immunohistochemistry using a mouse monoclonal antibody against the MCPyV LT antigen and through PCR analysis to separate viral DNA. HPV DNA was present in all three neuroendocrine carcinomas and in the adenocarcinoma component of the two mixed cases. None of the cases were immunoreactive to CM2B4 and did not contain viral DNA in either their neuroendocrine or adenocarcinomatous component. Whilst it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions from such a small sample size, these data suggested that MCPyV does not coexist with HPV in the cervix. However, in the present study, the absence of detectable MCPyV may have been due to the presence of a genotype that was not detected by the primers used in the PCR analysis or by the antibody used for the immunohistochemical study. MCPyV microRNA may also have been present, inhibiting LT expression. Additional studies with larger cohorts and more advanced molecular biology techniques are required to confirm the hypothesis of the current study.
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