JC polyomavirus

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Named after the initials of the first case described (1971),[1] a patient called John Cunningham. The patient had Hodgkin's disease.

JCV is an oncogenic virus associated with brain tumours[2] and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Primary infection with the virus is very common[3][4][5][6], but the virus is controlled by the immune system and remains dormant with adverse sequelae occuring only with immunosuppression (e.g. HIV or chemotherapy).

There is also a hypothesis that it may contribute to other cancers, including colorectal cancers,[7] particularly those with evidence of chromosomal instability. However, other studies have shown no association.[8][9]

The virus encodes 3 oncoproteins:

  • Large T-antigen
  • Small t-antigen
  • Agnoprotein

These proteins interact with cellular proteins dysregulating pathways including the cell cycle and DNA repair.


  1. Padgett BL, Walker DL, ZuRhein GM, Eckroade RJ, Dessel BH. Cultivation of papova-like virus from human brain with progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy. Lancet. 1971 Jun 19; 1(7712):1257-60.
  2. White MK, Gordon J, Reiss K, Del Valle L, Croul S, Giordano A, Darbinyan A, Khalili K. Human polyomaviruses and brain tumors. Brain research. Brain research reviews. 2005 Dec 1; 50(1):69-85.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  3. Stolt A, Sasnauskas K, Koskela P, Lehtinen M, Dillner J. Seroepidemiology of the human polyomaviruses. The Journal of general virology. 2003 Jun; 84(Pt 6):1499-504.
  4. Knowles WA, Pipkin P, Andrews N, Vyse A, Minor P, Brown DW, Miller E. Population-based study of antibody to the human polyomaviruses BKV and JCV and the simian polyomavirus SV40. Journal of medical virology. 2003 Sep; 71(1):115-23.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  5. Lundstig A, Dillner J. Serological diagnosis of human polyomavirus infection. Advances in experimental medicine and biology. 2006; 577:96-101.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  6. Antonsson A, Green AC, Mallitt KA, O'Rourke PK, Pawlita M, Waterboer T, Neale RE. Prevalence and stability of antibodies to the BK and JC polyomaviruses: a long-term longitudinal study of Australians. The Journal of general virology. 2010 Jul; 91(Pt 7):1849-53.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  7. Shadan FF, Cunningham C, Boland CR. JC virus: a biomarker for colorectal cancer? Medical hypotheses. 2002 Dec; 59(6):667-9.
  8. Lundstig A, Stattin P, Persson K, Sasnauskas K, Viscidi RP, Gislefoss RE, Dillner J. No excess risk for colorectal cancer among subjects seropositive for the JC polyomavirus. International journal of cancer. Journal international du cancer. 2007 Sep 1; 121(5):1098-102.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
  9. Breitweiser SS, Lubker BB. Hospital schools: a primer on management models and policy implications. Health care management review. 1991; 16(3):27-36.