Malignant Glial Neuronal Tumors After West Nile Virus Neuroinvasive Disease: A Coincidence or a Clue?

Akanksha Sharma, Marie F. Grill, Scott Spritzer, A. Arturo Leis, Mark Anderson, Parminder Vig, Alyx B. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Following acute West Nile virus (WNV) infection in humans, there is upregulation of pro-inflammatory molecules that promote neuroinflammation, including S100 calcium binding protein B (S100B), high-mobility group box-1 (HMGB1), and osteopontin (OPN). The effects of S100B and HMGB1 are transduced by the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE). Interestingly, the same immunoregulatory proteins that fuel neuroinflammation can also promote tumorigenesis. We present 2 cases of glial neuronal tumors, a glioblastoma multiforme and dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor, in patients with severe West Nile neuroinvasive disease (WNND). In these cases, the viral infection was a precursor to the development of the aggressive brain tumors. We describe a potential mechanism where the presence of tumorigenic proteins in the microenvironment induced by WNV, and subsequent RAGE and OPN signaling, may contribute to development or aggressive growth of these tumors. Although it is certainly possible that the occurrence of primary brain tumors following WNND is coincidental, the ability of WNV to alter cellular signaling and increase expression of pro-inflammatory and tumorigenic molecules merits further investigations to determine whether there is an association between these disease processes or implications for brain tumor patients who develop WNV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-164
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • West Nile virus
  • West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease
  • dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor
  • glioblastoma multiforme
  • osteopontin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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