Cancer Science & Therapy

ISSN: 1948-5956

Open Access

A Review on Merkel Cell Polyomavirus - A Subclinical Infection or a Sinisterical Carcinogen?


Sasi S. Senga and Jemma Arakelyan

Viral infections can be attributed to a significant percentage of the global cancer burden. In this review, we will delve into the principles of the
molecular mechanism underpinning Merkel cell polyomavirus associated oncogenesis. Merkel cell polyomavirus leads to highly aggressive and
relatively rare skin cancer known as Merkel cell carcinoma. This virus was first detected in 2008 when it was secluded from tumors of patients with
Merkel cell carcinoma. The presence of Merkel cell polyoma virus in tumors was confirmed by Southern blot analysis and sequencing. Of the 10
tumors tested, 8 were positive for virus, confirming a strong association, which led to the WHO IARC classification as a Group 2A, “carcinogenic
to humans”. There is little evidence which shows the association of Merkel cell polyomavirus and lung cancer. The plethora of diagnostic and
predictive biomarkers that are evolving alongside therapeutic and preventive strategies for Merkel cell polyomavirus associated cancers and the
evidence of its role in tumourigenesis.


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