Background: Central nervous system (CNS) tumors have devastating effects. They are recurrent, with dismal prognosis (gliomas) or life-threatening by compression effect (meningiomas). The etiology is still debatable, and over the last decade the hypothesis that human viruses may be implicated in these tumors has been proposed. Our aim was to examine the presence of eleven viruses in the most frequent CNS primary tumors.
Methods: We assessed by PCR the viral presence in archived, paraffin embedded tumor tissues from 114 patients with glioma and meningioma and in the brain tissue from 40 controls lacking tumor pathology. We focused on candidate neuro-oncogenic types (herpesviridae and polyomaviruses) and on human papillomavirus (HPV).
Results: HPV presence, for which an involvement in these tumors was hardly investigated, was found to be associated with both tumor categories compared with controls (glioma, p=0.032; meningioma, p=0.032), whereas the presence of the neuro-oncogenic viruses was found in a negligible number of both categories, suggesting a lack of association with the tumor presence. Moreover, our study revealed a positive correlation between HPV presence and glioma malignancy, and a negative correlation with meningioma grading.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that the presence of HPV seems to be significantly associated with primary tumors of the CNS and its coverings.