Journal Article

Case-Control Study of Cancer among US Army Veterans Exposed to Simian Virus 40-contaminated Adenovirus Vaccine

Dana E. M. Rollison, William F. Page, Harriet Crawford, Gloria Gridley, Sholom Wacholder, Jennifer Martin, Richard Miller and Eric A. Engels

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 160, issue 4, pages 317-324
Published in print August 2004 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online August 2004 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Case-Control Study of Cancer among US Army Veterans Exposed to Simian Virus 40-contaminated Adenovirus Vaccine

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Simian virus 40 (SV40) was an accidental contaminant of vaccines produced in monkey kidney tissue cultures in the 1950s and early 1960s, including a parenteral adenovirus vaccine given to several hundred thousand US military recruits. Detection of SV40 DNA in tumor tissues by some laboratories suggests that SV40 contributes to human cancers. To determine if entry into US Army service during periods of administration of SV40-contaminated adenovirus vaccine was associated with an increased risk of cancer, the authors conducted a case-control study of cancer occurring in male Army veterans who entered service in 1959–1961. Cases of brain tumors (n = 181), mesothelioma (n = 10), and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (n = 220) were identified through a Veterans Administration hospital discharge database, as were colon cancer and lung cancer controls (n = 221). Exposure to adenovirus vaccine was assigned on the basis of known periods of adenovirus vaccine administration and dates of Army entry obtained for cancer cases and controls. The odds ratios associated with exposure to SV40-contaminated adenovirus vaccine were 0.81 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.52, 1.24) for brain tumors, 1.41 (95% CI: 0.39, 5.15) for mesothelioma, and 0.97 (95% CI: 0.65, 1.44) for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. These findings do not support a role for SV40 in the development of these cancers.

Keywords: brain neoplasms; lymphoma, non-Hodgkin; mesothelioma; military personnel; simian virus 40; United States Department of Veterans Affairs; Abbreviations: BIRLS, Beneficiary Identification and Records Locator Subsystem; CI, confidence interval; ICD, International Classification of Diseases; OR, odds ratio; PTF, Patient Treatment File; SV40, simian virus 40.

Journal Article.  5872 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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