Simian Virus 40 (SV40) is a DNA tumor virus. SV40 sequences and the expression of its oncoprotein, named large T antigen (Tag), have been detected in specific human tumors, such as osteosarcomas, mesotheliomas, brain tumors and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Little is known on the SV40 transforming activity in humans and on the spread of SV40 infection in the population. In our study a new indirect ELISA assay has been set up employing SV40 synthetic peptides corresponding to unique epitopes of the capsid proteins and of the Tag oncoprotein. Specific antibodies against SV40 have been detected in sera of patients affected by osteosarcomas and of healthy donors. Indeed, antibodies against SV40 capsid proteins and Tag were detected in 40 % and 42.5%, respectively, of sera from osteosarcomas patients, whereas only 15% and 18%, respectively, of sera from healthy blood donors. Statistical analyses indicate that the difference of positive SV40 sera between oncologic patients and healthy subjects are statistically significant. Our serologic data confirm that SV40 is associated with specific human tumors, while this oncogenic virus is circulating, although at low prevalence, in the human population
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