Towards uncovering polyomavirus-carrying human cancers: pathology and implications for tumorigenesis

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisExternal prepared

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Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in humans worldwide. The most common risk factors for cancer include exposure to chemicals, smoking, alcohol, radiation, and inherited genetic mutations. Amongst many other factors, infectious agents play an essential role in the aetiology of cancer, and it is estimated that up to 15 % of cancers worldwide are associated with high-risk infectious viruses. However, the aetiology of most human cancers is still unknown. The aim of this thesis was to investigate and assess the potential contribution of known and novel human polyomaviruses in a spectrum of human cancers. The results of this thesis showed that human polyomaviruses can infect liver and bile duct cells. In addition, Merkel cell polyomavirus was detected in the epithelial thymic tumours but not detected in head and neck carcinomas. Therefore, this thesis concluded that human polyomaviruses remain important candidates for causing human cancers.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • zur Hausen, Axel, Supervisor
  • Speel, Ernst, Supervisor
  • Winnepenninckx, Veronique, Co-Supervisor
Award date19 Jan 2022
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789464235975
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Polyomaviruses
  • oncogenic viruses
  • tumorigenesis
  • small DNA viruses

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