Prospective study of JC virus seroreactivity and the development of colorectal cancers and adenomas. Academic Article uri icon


  • Infection with JC virus has been proposed as a risk factor for colorectal cancer. A nested case-control study was conducted to evaluate the association between prediagnostic JC virus antibodies and the risk of incident colorectal cancer and adenomas.Two research serum banks were established in Washington County, MD in 1974 and 1989, with the collection of blood samples from >45,000 volunteers. Incident colorectal cancer cases diagnosed through 2006 (n = 611) were identified among participants by linkage to population-based cancer registries, contributing 729 pairs of observations. Cases of adenomatous polyps (n = 123) were identified from participants of the 1989 cohort who reported having a colonoscopy-detected adenoma at follow-up through 2000 with histology confirmed through medical record review. One control was matched to each case on age, sex, race, and date of blood draw, and, for adenoma controls, date of endoscopy. IgG antibodies to JC virus were measured using virus-like particle ELISA. Associations between JC virus seropositivity and colorectal cancer and adenomas were estimated using conditional logistic regression.Overall, there was no association between antibodies to JC virus and colorectal cancer [odds ratio (OR), 0.91; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.71-1.17]. However, a statistically significant positive association between JC virus seropositivity and subsequent adenoma diagnosis was observed among males (OR, 2.31; 95% CI, 1.20-4.46), whereas a statistically significant inverse association was observed among females (OR, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.14-0.67; P for interaction = 0.01), after adjustment for baseline smoking and body mass index.Overall, JC virus seropositivity was not associated with colorectal cancer development up to 31 years later. Future studies are needed to confirm the adenoma findings.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009