No evidence of Epstein-Barr virus association with Merkel cell carcinoma

Maren Shaw, Simon Warren, Pamela Groben, Margaret L. Gulley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Background: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive tumor of cutaneous neuroendocrine cells with a reported 13-fold increased incidence in immunocompromised patients, raising the possibility that it is driven by an oncogenic virus. Additionally, Merkel cell hyperplasia is seen in the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-driven process oral hairy leukoplakia, and EBV is known to be involved in the pathogenesis of several other malignancies. Objective: We tested the hypothesis that EBV is involved in MCC. Methods: We employed EBV-encoded RNA in situ hybridization (ISH), lytic EBV ISH, latent membrane protein 1 immunohistochemistry, and BamH1Z leftward reading frame 1 immunohistochemistry to detect and localize EBV in paraffin sections of MCC from five patients as well as seven other cutaneous tumors and positive controls for EBV infection. Results: Positive controls reacted appropriately. However, there was no evidence of latent or lytic EBV in any of the MCC biopsies or other cutaneous tumors. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that EBV is not associated with MCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)624-628
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cutaneous Pathology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Dermatology

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