SV40 association with human malignancies and mechanisms of tumor immunity by large tumor antigen
SV40 was discovered as a contaminate of poliovirus vaccine lots distributed to millions of individuals in the United States between 1955 and 1963 while contaminated vaccine batches were later circulated worldwide. After SV40 was observed to cause in vitro animal and human cell transformations and in vivo tumor formations in animals, the search for a connection between the virus and human malignancies has continued to the present day. Different molecular methods have been used to detect SV40 gene products in a variety of human cancers, though SV40 causality in these tumor types has yet to be established. These data, however, are not without controversial issues related to inconclusive SV40 serological and epidemiological evidence alongside tools and methodologies that may contribute to false-positive results in human specimens. This review will also explore how vaccination against SV40 protein products may be used to help prevent and treat individuals with SV40-expressing cancers.