Return to Alert Listing...


          Two separate sets of researchers have found evidence of SV-40 (simian virus 40, a monkey virus) in the tumor cells of lymphoma patients. In one study (Vilchez et al.), the virus was found in 42% of lymphoma tumors. Presence of the virus in the tumors does not necessarily mean the virus caused the tumors, though it does raise suspicions.

          Previous studies of SV-40 in humans have focused mainly on cancers which are more rare than lymphoma, including mesothelioma (a type of lung cancer), ependymomas, choiroid plexus tumors, and certain bone tumors. SV-40 was introduced into the human population by the injectable polio vaccine from 1954-1963. The virus, undiscovered until 1960, was a contaminant of the vaccine. 10 to 30 million Americans, including many "Baby Boomers," were exposed to SV-40 in this manner.

          Viruses are associated with various cancers, including lymphoma. The Epstein-Barr virus has long been implicated in Burkitts lymphoma, for example. One possible scenario is that persons born with a particular genetic variant, who have been infected with SV-40 virus, might develop lymphoma following herbicide exposure, which would further damage the chromosomes in their lymphocytes.

          The Lymphoma Foundation of America calls on the National Cancer Institute to issue a RFP (Request For Proposals) for scientific research focused on viral associations with cancer, including the possible SV-40/lymphoma link.

Sources: Vilchez, R.A.; Madden, C.R.; Kozinetz, C.A.; Halvorson, S.J.; White, Z.S.; Jorgensen, J.L.; Finch, C.J.; and Butel, J.S. Association between simian virus 40 and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Lancet 359: 9309 (March 9, 2002).

Shivpurkar, N.; Harada, K.; Reddy, J.; Scheuermann, R.H.; McKenna, R.W.; Milchgrub, S.; Kroft, S.H.; Feng, Z.; and Gazdar, A.F. Presence of simian virus 40 DNA sequences in human lymphomas. Lancet 359: 9309 (March 9, 2002).

Malkin, D. Commentary: Simian virus 40 and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Lancet 359: 9309 (March 9, 2002).


This site does not contain any drug company advertisements or industry promotions.

Lymphoma Foundation of America
Main Office
1100 N. Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Tel: (734) 222-1100 | Fax: (734) 222-0044

Patient Hotline: 1-800-385-1060