Recent studies have linked simian virus 40 (SV40) to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), especially in countries in which people were exposed to contaminated polio vaccines prior to 1963. In Taiwan, nearly all children were not exposed to contaminated polio vaccine during this period; the relationship between SV40 infection and hematological malignancies is unclear and deserves to be studied. Using PCR amplification of SV40 large T antigen DNA, confirmed by Southern blot hybridization and sequence analysis, 91 frozen lymph nodes from NHL patients were examined. Thirteen (14.3 percent) showed positive for SV40. All other test samples, including diagnostic bone marrow from patients with acute leukemia, peripheral blood from 10 relatives of SV40 positive-patients and 91 age-matched normal volunteers, and 5 reactive hyperplastic lymphoid tissues, showed negative. These results may reflect that human-to-human transmission of SV40 is independent of contaminated polio vaccines; and SV40 is possibly associated with the development of NHL in Taiwan (p = 0.0001). Prospective studies are needed to determine the prevalence of SV40 infections in our and other human populations and to explore the means of transmission of the virus.
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