Polyomaviruses (PyVs) were initially described in animals. They have also been detected in humans with some evidence that could play a role in skin carcinogenesis.
This study aimed to verify the presence of PyVs in different skin tumour samples and to make clinical correlations with patients’ epidemiological data from Clinics Hospital of Medical School of University of São Paulo, Brazil.
This is a cross-sectional study. A random selection was performed of 120 patients with histopathological exams of different cutaneous neoplasms equally divided into 6 groups and 20 patients with normal skin. The available skin specimens were analysed with 2 different techniques of PCR (conventional and real time) for detection of PyV DNA. Concomitantly, retrospective analysis of the respective medical records for the collection of epidemiological data was done. Analyses suitable for categorical data were used to compare the proportion of patients in each group.
PyV DNA was found in 25.69% of the samples: 15% in basal cell carcinoma group, 15% in squamous cell carcinoma, 28.57% in melanoma, 15% in dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, 13.33% in Kaposi sarcoma, 65% in Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), and none in normal skin. Merkel cell PyV detection was statistically significant in MCC patients (p value <0.01), but no correlations were found between PyVs and others skin tumours.
This study demonstrated the presence of PyVs in different skin tumours; however, no association of any PyVs found in any skin tumour with epidemiological data could be shown. Further studies are still needed to elucidate the mechanisms of PyVs in skin carcinogenesis.