Abstract. Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is associated with a history of heavy, long‐term exposure to asbestos. However, MPM may also be associated with simian virus 40 (SV40), a polyomavirus. The association between SV40 and MPM remains unclear. The present study was conducted in order to investigate the proportion of SV40 presence in the histological specimens of Vietnamese patients with MPM. Histological specimens were obtained from 45 patients (19 men and 26 women) with MPM at the Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The specimens were processed and examined in order to detect the presence of the SV40 large T antigen (SV40 Tag) expression using immuno-histochemistry. Of the 45 patients, 23 (51%) were epithelioid, 7 (16%) were biphasic, 6 (13%) were sarcomatoid, 4 (9%) were desmoplastic, 4 (9%) were well‐differentiated papillary and 1 (2%) was the anaplastic subtype. In total, 9/45 patients (20%) demonstrated SV40 Tag expression. The proportion of patients that demonstrated SV40 Tag expression was not significantly different between the epithelioid subtype and the other subtypes (22 vs. 18%; P=1.000) or between the patients with stage IV disease and other stages (20 vs. 20%; P=1.000). The median survival time was not significantly different between the patients with or without SV40 Tag expression (196 vs. 236 days, P=0.8949). In summary, a 5th of the Vietnamese patients with MPM were associated with infection with SV40. SV40 may be a potential cause of MPM in Vietnam and this potential association requires additional studies.


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