• Journal Article

Merkel cell carcinoma subgroups by merkel cell polyomavirus DNA relative abundance and oncogene expression

Citation

Bhatia, K., Goedert, J. J., Modali, R., Preiss, L., & Ayers, L. W. (2010). Merkel cell carcinoma subgroups by merkel cell polyomavirus DNA relative abundance and oncogene expression. International Journal of Cancer, 126(9), 2240-2246. DOI: 10.1002/ijc.24676

Abstract

Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) was recently discovered in Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), a clinically and pathologically heterogeneous malignancy of dermal neuroendocrine cells. To investigate this heterogeneity, we developed a tissue microarray (TMA) to characterize immunohistochemical staining of candidate tumor cell proteins and a quantitative PCR assay to detect MCPyV and measure viral loads. MCPyV was detected in 19 of 23 (74%) primary MCC tumors, but 8 of these had less than 1 viral copy per 300 cells. Viral abundance of 0.06-1.2viral copies/cell was directly related to presence of retinoblastoma gene product (pRb) and terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase (TdT) by immunohistochemical staining (P</=0.003). Higher viral abundance tumors tended to be associated with less p53 expression, younger age at diagnosis, and longer survival (P</=0.08). These data suggest that MCC may arise through different oncogenic pathways, including ones independent of pRb and MCPyV. (c) 2009 UICC