A new immunological investigation was carried out to study the association between non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Simian virus 40 (SV40). To this end, a new indirect ELISA was employed with two mimotopes from SV40 large T antigen (Tag), the viral oncoprotein, to analyse for specific reactions to antibodies in sera from non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients and controls, represented by healthy subjects (HS) and breast carcinoma (BC) patients. This study allowed us to assay a new sera collection from non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients (NHL, n = 254). To verify the association between NHL and SV40 Tag, two totally independent cohorts were analysed: NHL1 n = 150 and NHL2 n = 104. The epidemiological survey included sera from HS1, n = 150; HS2, n = 104 and BC, n = 78. This new indirect ELISA revealed that antibodies against SV40 Tag mimotopes are detectable in NHL1 and NHL2 sera with a prevalence of 37 and 36%, respectively. The prevalence of SV40-antibodies detected in both NHL1 and NHL2 cohorts differs statistically from controls, at 19% for HS1 (p < 0.01), HS2 (p < 0.05) and BC patients (p < 0.05). This study, carried out with an immunological assay with specific Tag oncoprotein mimotopes of Simian virus 40, reports the presence of IgG antibodies against the large Tumour antigen in non-Hodgkin lymphomas for the first time. Our immunological data with two independent NHL cohorts show a statistically significant association between Simian virus 40 Tag and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These results suggest that SV40-positive non-Hodgkin lymphomas could be treated differently from those tested SV40-negative.
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