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Role of the Human Polyomavirus BKV in Prostate Cancer

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Annual rept. 1 Aug 2002-31 Jul 2003

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BKV is a human polyomavirus that establishes a lifelong, persistent infection of the urinary tract. The virus encodes oncoproteins that induce tumors in animal models, and BKV DNA has been detected in human urinary tract tumors, including prostate. Prostate tumors have a relatively low frequency of mutations in the p53 and Rbl genes, indicating that an agent such as a virus may be inactivating their functions. The aims of this proposal are to determine if BKV is present in prostate tumors and, if so, whether viral oncogenes are expressed. To accomplish this, normal and tumor tissue form individual patients will be analyzed. PCR, in situ PCR, and in situ hybridization will be performed to determine the presence of viral sequences, and RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry will be used to examine gene expression. Viral sequences from patients will be cloned and their function compared to wild type virus. This past year, we optimized most of these assays and began to analyze samples. We detect the presence and expression of the virus in a subset of normal and cancer cells. At this time, firm conclusions cannot be drawn as more samples need to be analyzed. If BKV is associated with some prostate cancers, our knowledge of the virus will be useful in designing drugs and vaccines for treatment.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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