Characterization of the OSSN Microbiome in HIV-1 Infected Patients

Kenneth O Simbiri, Erle S Robertson


Purpose: Ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN) is a rare cancer previously seen in elderly men. In Botswana there is an increase in OSSN and pterygia among young HIV-1 infected patients. Factors that determine the course of this cancer have not been characterized. Recent studies identified HPV, EBV, KSHV, HSV-1/2, and CMV in patient samples. We now characterize the microbiome associated with the disease that may contribute to its course.

Results: Pyrosequencing identified viruses, bacteria, fungus and parasites. Analysis of shotgun cloning sequences showed a majority of infectious agents identified by pyrosequencing.

Conclusion: HIV patients with OSSN in Botswana are infected with a range of infectious agents which may represent a unique microbiome. The persistent expressions of gene products by these agents some of which are oncogenic are likely to contribute to the oncogenic process and suggest that treatment modalities of the cancer should involve the screening for endemic agents.

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Cancer and Clinical Oncology   ISSN 1927-4858(Print)   ISSN 1927-4866(Online)   Email:

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