The common renal adenocarcinoma of the leopard frog was studied in thin sections with the electron microscope.
Approximately a third of the tumors examined were found to contain spheroidal bodies of uniform size and distinctive morphology that are believed to be virus particles. These consist of hollow spheres (90 to 100 mµ) having a thick capsule and a dense inner body (35 to 40 mµ) that is eccentrically placed within the central cavity (70 to 80 mµ). Virus particles of this kind occur principally in the cytoplasm but occasionally they are also found in the nucleus and in the extracellular spaces of the tumor.
The intranuclear inclusion bodies that are visible with the light microscope are largely comprised of hollow, spherical vesicles with thin limiting membranes. These are embedded in a finely granular matrix. A few of the thin walled vesicles contain a dense inner body like that of the cytoplasmic virus particles. This suggests that they may be immature virus particles. The inclusion bodies are believed to be formed in the course of virus multiplication but they usually contain very few mature virus particles.
Bundles of dense filaments and peculiar vacuolar inclusions also occur in the cytoplasm of the tumor cells. These seem to be related in some way to the presence of virus but their origin and significance remain obscure.
These findings are discussed in relation to previous work suggesting that the Lucké adenocarcinoma is caused by an organ-specific filtrable agent. It is concluded that the "virus particles" found in electron micrographs of the tumor cells may be the postulated tumor agent. On the other hand, the possibility remains that the particles described here are not those that are causally related to the tumors.