J Korean Med Sci.  2005 Aug;20(4):603-606. 10.3346/jkms.2005.20.4.603.

Investigation of the Bovine Leukemia Virus Proviral DNA in Human Leukemias and Lung cancers in Korea

  • 1Department of Clinical Pathology, The Catholic University of Korea, Medical College, Korea. hankja@catholic.ac.kr
  • 2Department of General Toxicology, National Institute of Toxicological Research, Seoul, Korea.


The bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is the causative agent of enzootic bovine leucosis. This study investigated the presence of the BLV in leukemia (179 acute lymphoblastic leukemia, 292 acute myeloid leukemia and 46 chronic myelogenous leukemia cases) and 162 lung cancer patients (139 adenocarcinoma, 23 squamous cell carcinoma) to determine if the BLV is a causative organism of leukemia and lung cancer in Koreans. A BLV infection was confirmed in human cells by PCR using a BLV-8 primer combination. All 517 cases of human leukemia and 162 lung cancer were negative for a PCR of the BLV proviral DNA. In conclusion, although meat has been imported from BLV endemic areas, the BLV infection does not appear to be the cause of human leukemia or lung cancer in Koreans. These results can be used as a control for further studies on the BLV in Koreans.


Leukemia; Lung Neoplasms; Leukemia Virus; Bovine; Human Infection

MeSH Terms

Acute Disease
Cell Line
DNA, Viral/*genetics/isolation & purification
Leukemia Virus, Bovine/*genetics
Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Acute/virology
Leukemia, Myeloid/virology
Leukemia, Myeloid, Chronic/virology
Lung Neoplasms/*virology
Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods


  • Fig. 1 Sequences of the primers used for detection of the BLV.

  • Fig. 2 PCR amplification of BLV envelope gene. Target size, 473 bp (BLV-8); M, 1kb plus ladder; Lane 1, BL-3.1; Lane 2, BL-3

  • Fig. 3 PCR amplification of BLV envelope gene. M, 1 kb Plus ladder; 1, BLV-1 (803 bp); 2, BLV-2 (613 bp); 3, BLV-3 (543 bp); 4, BLV-4 (689 bp); 5, BLV-5 (499 bp); 6, BLV-6 (429 bp); 7, BLV-7 (663 bp); 8, BLV-8 (473 bp); 9, BLV-9 (403 bp).

  • Fig. 4 Determination of PCR sensitivity using nested PCR. Template, BL-3.1 genomic DNA; A, BLV-3 Primer Set (543 bp); B, BLV-8 Primer Set (473 bp); C, Nested PCR; M, 1 kb Plus Ladder (GIBCO); N, Negative Control; 1, 108 Copies; 2, 107 Copies; 3, 106 Copies; 4, 105 Copies; 5, 104 Copies; 6, 103 Copies; 7, 102 Copies; 8, 10 copies; 9, 1 Copy; 10, 0.1 Copy.


1. Johnson ES, Griswold CM. Oncogenic retroviruses of cattle, chickens and turkeys:potential infectivity and oncogenicity for humans. Med Hypotheses. 1996. 46:354–356.
2. Johnson ES, Nicholson LG, Durack DT. Detection of antibodies to avian leucosis/sarcoma viruses (ALSV) and reticuloendotheliosis viruses (REV) in humans by ELISA. Cancer Detect Prev. 1995. 19:394–404.
3. VanLeeuwen JA, Keefe GP, Tremblay R, Power C, Wichtel JJ. Seroprevalence of infection with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, bovine leukemia virus, and bovine viral diarrhea virus in maritime Canada dairy cattle. Can Vet J. 2001. 42:193–198.
4. Johnson ES, Fischman HR, Matanoski GM, Diamond E. Occurrence of cancer in women in the meat industry. Br J Ind Med. 1986. 43:597–604.
5. Johnson ES, Dalmas D, Noss J, Matanoski GM. Cancer mortality among workers in abattoirs and meatpacking plants: an update. Am J Ind Med. 1995. 27:389–403.
6. Rola M, Kuzmak J. The detection of bovine leukemia virus proviral DNA by PCR-ELISA. J Virol Methods. 2002. 99:33–40.
7. Ghysdael J, Bruck C, Kettmann R, Burny A. Bovine leukemia virus. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 1984. 112:1–19.
8. Johnson ES, Nicholson LG, Durack DT. Poultry oncogenic retroviruses and humans. Cancer Detect Prev. 1994. 18:9–31.
9. McClure HM, Keeling ME, Custer RP, Marshak RR, Abt DA, Ferrer JF. Erythroleukemia in two infant chimpanzees fed milk from cows naturally infected with the bovine C-type virus. Cancer Res. 1974. 34:2745–2757.
10. Pearce NE, Smith AH, Howard JK, Sheppard RA, Giles HJ, Teague CA. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and exposure to phenoxyherbicides, chlorophenols, fencing work, and meat works employment: a case-control study. Br J Ind Med. 1996. 43:75–83.
11. Johnson ES. Cancer mortality among workers in the meat department of supermarkets. Occup Environ Med. 1991. 51:541–547.
12. Sherman MP, Ehrlich GD, Ferrer JF, Sninsky JJ, Zandomeni R, Dock NL, Poiesz B. Amplification and analysis of specific DNA and RNA sequence of bovine leukemia virus from infected cows by polymerase chain reaction. J Clin Microbiol. 1992. 30:185–191.
13. Ballagi-Pordany A, Klintevall K, Merza M, Klingeborn B, Belak S. Direct detection of bovine leukemia virus infection: practical applicability of a double polymerase chain reaction. Zentralbl Veterinarmed B. 1992. 39:69–77.
Full Text Links
  • JKMS
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2022 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: koreamed@kamje.or.kr