Human cytomegalovirus and primary intracranial tumours: frequency of tumour infection and lack of correlation with systemic immune anti-viral responses
- The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous beta human herpesvirus able to influence infected cell survival and proliferation and to modulate the host immune response. As there is accumulating evidence that HCMV is detected in primary intracranial astrocytic tumours, in this study we looked for the presence of HCMV in intracranial tumours and tried to correlate this eventual presence with the anti-HCMV systemic immunoreactivity and with the detection of HCMV in peripheral blood.
In this study, we analysed 43 glioblastomas (GBM), 14 oligodendrogliomas (OL) and 20 meningiomas (MG) by immunofluorescence (IF) targeting HCMV immediate early antigen (IE1) and by nested PCR (nPCR) amplifying HCMV glycoprotein B (gB).
Detection of IE1 by IF showed the presence of HCMV in 70% of GBM, 57% of OL and 85% of MG, in contrast to gB nPCR, which detected HCMV in only 50% of GBM, 38% of OL and 46% of MG. Unexpectedly, HCMV DNA and antigens were detected within GBM, OL and MG of patients that exhibit negative viral serology. More surprisingly, PCR on the peripheral blood did not detect HCMV in patients with a HCMV-positive tumour.
Our results are in agreement with previous observations demonstrating HCMV in glial tumours and highlight the presence of HCMV in meningiomas. We also showed that anti-HCMV specific systemic immunoreactivity and detection of HCMV in peripheral blood are not predictive of HCMV presence in primary intracranial tumours.