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A cohort (20%) of patients with mesothelioma will not have an exposure to asbestos. Recently, a DNA tumor virus (simian virus 40) has been shown to cause hamster mesotheliomas; we previously described simian virus 40-like DNA amino terminus sequences in 29 of 48 mesotheliomas. We analyzed an additional 42 mesotheliomas to determine (1) whether our initial observations were durable and (2) the extent to which the simian virus 40 genome is present in mesotheliomas.Genomic DNA was extracted from snap frozen mesothelioma tumor samples and from the simian virus 40-induced hamster mesothelioma tumor H9A. Polymerase chain reaction primers were used to amplify various simian virus 40 large T-antigen regions including a 105-base pair amino terminus fragment, a 281-base pair carboxyl terminus fragment, and a 310-base pair fragment of the enhancer promoter region. Endonuclease digestions and Southern blotting were used to verify the expected product.Thirty of the 42 (71%) samples amplified T-antigen amino sequences, and specificity was verified by Southern hybridization. Sixteen of 42 samples (38%) amplified the appropriate size fragment for the carboxyl terminus, and digestion with BsaB1 matched that of H9A. Twenty-two of 42 samples (52%) amplified simian virus 40 regulatory sequences and Fok1 digestion matched that of the hamster control tumor. Sequence analysis (4 patients) revealed 100% homology with the regulatory region of simian virus 40 strain 776.These data suggest an association between the simian virus 40 virus and human mesothelioma that could be exploited for diagnostic/therapeutic options including early detection and potential vaccination strategies.