Malignant gliomas are the most common primary brain tumors in adults. The disease has no known etiology, progresses rapidly, and is fatal despite current therapies. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a beta herpes virus that is trophic for glial cells and infects 50% to 90% of the adult human population. HCMV-mediated disease in immunosuppressed patients has highlighted the possible role of this virus in the development of other diseases, particularly inflammatory diseases such as vascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, and certain malignancies. Sensitive detection of viral DNA, mRNA, and antigens in tumor tissues, as well as seroepidemiologic evidence, suggest a link between HCMV and several human malignancies. HCMV gene products are proposed to dysregulate multiple cellular pathways involved in oncogenesis, such as cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, migration, and angiogenesis. These theories, currently being researched, suggest that HCMV acts as an oncomodulator in malignancies. We investigated the association between HCMV infection and reactivation, and malignant gliomas. An open, matched case-control, parallel group pilot study was performed in a tertiary referral center. The HCMV viral load in peripheral blood and tumor samples of 19 patients newly diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme was compared with a matched control cohort comprising 19 patients newly diagnosed with non-malignant brain tumors. There was no significant correlation between peripheral blood and tumor tissue HCMV viral load in patients with glioblastoma multiforme compared to the control cohort. The findings of the present study did not support an oncomodulatory role for HCMV in malignant gliomas.
- Human cytomegalovirus