New Investigation Supports Correlation Between XMRV and Prostate Cancer

Novel XMRV Retrovirus Diagnostic Test Developed

Philadelphia, PA, April 8, 2010 – The recently discovered retrovirus, xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV), has been identified in some prostate cancer patients. In light of conflicting data concerning XMRV, standardized diagnostic testing is important to identify patients in which XMRV is present and to determine whether it plays a role in the incidence of prostate cancer. An article published in the April issue of Urology® is a step in this direction as researchers from Emory University report the successful development of an experimental clinical test for XMRV.

“We cannot as a scientific community begin to answer the basic questions of XMRV transmission, frequency in the population, association with disease, etc. until we can effectively test for infection,” according to lead investigator John A. Petros, MD, Associate Professor of Urology, Emory University School of Medicine and Veterans Administration Hospital.

Dr. Petros and co-investigators adapted technology developed in the HIV arena (neutralizing antibody assay) and have developed a serum test that can identify patients who have previously been infected with the virus. This assay has been rigorously confirmed by two independent labs and two independent technologies (PCR and FISH), thus confidence in the accuracy of the test is high.

The mode of transmission of the virus is unknown. No method is available to screen either blood or tissue donors for infection and no data are available regarding whether the virus can be transmitted by blood transfusion or tissue transplantation. Dr. Petros comments, “The public deserves to know if the next blood transfusion or organ donation will give them XMRV retrovirus, an infection which lasts for life, and could possibly be related to prostate cancer. The failure to develop accurate tests for this virus is a serious public health oversight.”

Although the assay used in the present report involved the inhibition of infection of target cells by viral-like particles with the XMRV envelope protein expressed on their surface, results also suggest that more standard serologic tests for antibodies against specific viral antigens can be developed in the future.

The authors conclude that “our report adds to the growing body of evidence that XMRV is indeed a novel gamma-retrovirus capable of infecting humans and that at least some patients with prostate cancer have been infected with XMRV. We have reported serologic evidence of infection and that the serology correlated with tissue-based assays. The concordance of 3 independent methods of detecting infection added confidence to the assertion that this recently discovered virus is real and possibly related to human disease. Robust clinical assays are needed to detect XMRV infection, and much work remains to be done in determining whether XMRV is indeed an oncogenic virus or simply an associated epiphenomenon.”

The article is “XMRV Infection in Patients With Prostate Cancer: Novel Serologic Assay and Correlation With PCR and FISH” by Rebecca S. Arnold, Natalia V. Makarova, Adeboye O. Osunkoya, Suganthi Suppiah, Takara A. Scott, Nicole A. Johnson, Sushma M. Bhosle, Dennis Liotta, Eric Hunter, Fray F. Marshall, Hinh Ly, Ross J. Molinaro, Jerry L. Blackwell, and John A. Petros. It appears in Urology, Volume 75, Issue 4 (April 2010) published by Elsevier.

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Notes to Editors:
Full text of the article featured above is available to journalists upon request. Contact Sarah Kane at 215-239-3798 or s.kane@elsevier.com to obtain a copy. Journalists wishing to set up interviews should contact Ashante Dobbs, Assistant Director, Media Relations, Health Sciences Communications, Emory University, 404-727-5692 (office), 404-805-0204 (cell), 404-686-5500 ID # 13841 (pager), ADOBBS2@emory.edu.

About UROLOGY®
Popularly known as the "Gold Journal," Urology, a monthly, peer–reviewed journal, is the Official Publication of the Société Internationale d' Urologie. Its mission is to provide practical, timely, and relevant clinical and basic science information to physicians and researchers practicing the art of urology worldwide. Urology publishes original articles relating to adult and pediatric clinical urology as well as to clinical and basic science research. Topics in Urology include pediatrics, surgical oncology, radiology, pathology, erectile dysfunction, infertility, incontinence, transplantation, endourology, andrology, female urology, reconstructive surgery, and medical oncology, as well as relevant basic science issues.
Special features include rapid communication of important timely issues, surgeon's workshops, interesting case reports, surgical techniques, clinical and basic science review articles, guest editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews, and historical articles in urology.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence, and ClinicalKey — and publishes nearly 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

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Media Contact:
Sarah Kane
Publisher Elsevier Health Sciences Journals
+1 215-239-3798
s.kane@elsevier.com