Imperial College London to offer £200 XMRV test

Imperial College London to offer £200 XMRV test! 


Entry Word: chutzpah
also chutzpa or hutzpah or
shameless boldness — see

Having published, last month, in PloS One, that a study led by Prof Myra McClure (Imperial College London) and Prof Simon Wessely (King’s College London) found no evidence that XMRV is associated with CFS in the UK, Imperial College London is now offering a £200 XMRV test.

Related material:

Failure to Detect the Novel Retrovirus XMRV in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Abstract and links for full paper:
Media coverage Round up 1:
Patient organisation responses Round up 2:

Imperial College London News Release PDF: Imperial College London News Release XMRV

Failure to Detect the Novel Retrovirus XMRV in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Otto Erlwein¹, Steve Kaye¹, Myra O. McClure¹*, Jonathan Weber¹, Gillian Wills¹, David Collier², Simon Wessely³, Anthony Cleare³

1 Jefferiss Research Trust Laboratories, Section of Infectious Diseases, Wright-Fleming Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, St Mary’s Campus, Norfolk Place, London, United Kingdom, 2 Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry (King’s College London) De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London, United Kingdom, 3 Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, Camberwell, London, United Kingdom

Imperial College London XMRV Detection testing

Scope of the test

Infection with the newly discovered retrovirus xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV) has been associated with prostate cancer [1, 2] and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) [3]. No causal link between infection and any human disease has been proven and the association between XMRV and prostate cancer or CFS remains controversial [4-6]. Indeed, in a study in our own laboratory of 186 patients with well-defined CFS we failed to detect the virus in any sample [7].

Test details

The test uses the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect XMRV provirus (the DNA form of the viral genome) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The limit of detection of the method is one XMRV proviral DNA copy in 105 cells. The test includes controls for non-specific inhibition of PCR to avoid false negative results. The method is a fully validated in-house method. A summary of the validation is available from the Unit Manager.

Reporting results

The results will be reported as “XMRV detected” or “XMRV not detected”, the test is not quantitative at present.

Turnaround time

We aim to issue reports within two weeks of receiving a sample. Details of samples and sample shipment are given on the user instruction page [weblink]. Please note we can only accept test requests and samples from medical practitioners (GPs or hospital doctors) we will not accept test requests directly from patients.


The current charge for testing is £200/sample.


If you are unhappy with the service provided by MDU or if you wish to make suggestions on how our service can be improved, please contact the Unit Manager.


1.Urisman A, Molinaro RJ, Fischer N Plummer SJ, Casey G et al. (2006) Identification of a novel gammaretrovirus in prostate tumors of patients homozygous for R462Q RNaseL variant. PLoS Pathog. 2: 211- 225.
2.Schlaberg R, Choe DJ, Brown KR, Thaker HM, Singh IR (2009) XMRV is present in malignant prostatic epithelium and is associated with prostate cancer, especially high-grade tumours. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 106: 16351-6
3.Lombardi V, Ruscetti FW, Gupta JD, Pfost MA, Hagen KS et al. (2009) Detection of an infectious retrovirus, XMRV, in blood cells of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Science 326: 585-589.
4.Fischer N, Hellwinkel O, Schulz C, Chun FK, Huland H et al. (2008) Prevalence of human gamma retrovirus XMRV in sporadic prostate cancer. J Clin Virol. 43: 277-283.
5.D’Arcy FR, Foley A, Perry L, Marignol L, Lawler M et al. (2008) No evidence of XMRV in Irish prostate cancer patients with the R462Q mutations. European Urology 7 Suppl: 271
6.Hohn O, Krause H, Barbarotto P, Niederstadt L, Beimforde N et al. (2009) Lack of evidence for xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) in German prostate cancer patients. Retrovirology 6:92.
7.Erlwein O, Kaye S, McClure MO, Weber J, Wills G, Collier D, Wessely S, Cleare A. (2010) Failure to detect the novel retrovirus XMRV in chronic fatigue syndrome. PLoS One. 2010; 5: e8519.

Test Request Form

Open Word document here on ICL site: ICL Test Request Form

Open Word document here on ME agenda: ICL Test Request Form