XMRV: another negative study – this time in Japan

From the open-access journal, Retrovirology, 17 March 2011

No association of Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus-related virus with prostate cancer or chronic fatigue syndrome in Japan

Rika A Furutal, Takayuki Miyazawa, Takeki Sugiyama , Hirohiko Kuratsune, Yasuhiro Ikeda, Eiji Sato, Naoko Misawa, Yasuhito Nakatomi, Ryuta Sakuma, Kazuta Yasui, Kouzi Yamaguti l and Fumiya Hirayama

Retrovirology 2011, 8:20doi:10.1186/1742-4690-8-20
Published: 17 March 2011
Abstract (provisional)


The involvement of xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) in prostate cancer (PC) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is disputed as its reported prevalence ranges from 0% to 25% in PC cases and from 0% to more than 80% in CFS cases. To evaluate the risk of XMRV infection during blood transfusion in Japan, we screened three populations–healthy donors (n = 500), patients with PC (n = 67), and patients with CFS (n = 100)–for antibodies against XMRV proteins in freshly collected blood samples. We also examined blood samples of viral antibody-positive patients with PC and all (both antibody-positive and antibody-negative) patients with CFS for XMRV DNA.


Antibody screening by immunoblot analysis showed that a fraction of the cases (1.6-3.0%) possessed anti-Gag antibodies regardless of their gender or disease condition. Most of these antibodies were highly specific to XMRV Gag capsid protein, but none of the individuals in the three tested populations retained strong antibody responses to multiple XMRV proteins. In the viral antibody-positive PC patients, we occasionally detected XMRV genes in plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells but failed to isolate an infectious or full-length XMRV. Further, all CFS patients tested negative for XMRV DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells.


Our data show no solid evidence of XMRV infection in any of the three populations tested, implying that there is no association between the onset of PC or CFS and XMRV infection in Japan. However, the lack of adequate human specimens as a positive control in Ab screening and the limited sample size do not allow us to draw a firm conclusion.

The complete article is available as a provisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.


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