Viral cause for prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is increasingly looking like an infectious disease, a new study shows, and may be sexually transmitted

Tabitha M. Powledge
Sep 6, 2009
Mounting evidence suggests that prostate cancer is an infectious disease caused by a recently identified virus. The linkurl:latest report,;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0906922106 published today (September 7) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found the virus was associated especially with aggressive prostate cancers and noted that "all individuals may be at risk" for infection. [www.pnas.org_cgi_doi_10.1073_pnas.0906922106] The notion that prostate cancer is an infectious disease like cervical cancer would not surprise most cancer experts, said linkurl:Ila Singh;http://www.path.utah.edu/research/cbi/ila-singh-md-phd of the University of Utah, the study's senior author. Almost 20% of visceral cancers are now proven infectious diseases, and there is lots of indirect evidence from epidemiology and genetics that prostate cancer may be one of them. The suspect is xenotropic murine leukemia-related virus (XMRV), a gammaretrovirus similar to viruses known to cause cancer in animals. Researchers at Columbia University and the University of Utah found the virus in more than a quarter...




Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?