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.
Human prostate cancer tissue. Brown,
granular staining shows malignant epithelial
cells that express XMRV proteins

Image: R. Schlaberg and H. M. Thaker
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 a lot 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...
Correction (September 23): A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that skin cancer causes more deaths than prostate cancer in men. In fact, lung cancer and prostate cancer, respectively, cause the most cancer deaths in men. The Scientists regrets the error.



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