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Identification of Merkel cell polyomavirus in Merkel cell carcinoma tissue: case report of a Taiwanese patient
Wen-Tsao Ho, Jonathan Te Peng Tseng, Chung-Hong Hu, Wei-Hwa Lee, Tsung-Hsien Tsai
DERMATOLOGICA SINICA 28 (2010) 159–162

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare malignancy with aggressive behavior mostly
seen in the elderly and immunosuppressed patients. In 2008, the clonal integration of
a new human polyomavirus, named Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV), was found to be
closely associated with the development of MCC. This correlation was established by
subsequent reports, mostly in Caucasians. To evaluate whether this correlation is also relevant
among the Taiwanese population, we used polymerase chain reaction to detect
the presence of MCPyV in a formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded MCC specimen.
In addition, we used tissue with seborrheic keratosis from the same patient as a control.
Three different specific primer sets, LT1, LT3 and VP1, were used to amplify characteristic
MCPyV genes, and large T antigen and VP1 genes, respectively. Amplicons of the expected
sizes for all three primer pairs were detected in MCC tissue and amplicons for both LT3
and VP1 were detected in seborrheic keratosis tissue. More studies are needed to quantify
viral positivity of MCPyV in various tissues of patients with MCC and to establish
genetic interactions between the virus and host.

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