Research Topic

Emerging Role of Human Cytomegalovirus in Cancer

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Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a beta-herpesvirus that persistently infects 50-90% of the world's adult population. HCMV causes significant and even fatal disease in the fetus or immunocompromised host. In the non-immunocompromised host, HCMV infection is thought to be related to latent or semi-latent ...

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a beta-herpesvirus that persistently infects 50-90% of the world's adult population. HCMV causes significant and even fatal disease in the fetus or immunocompromised host. In the non-immunocompromised host, HCMV infection is thought to be related to latent or semi-latent infection of bone marrow derived cells and possibly other stem cell compartments, although viral reactivation is frequent throughout life. HCMV incodes for over 200 gene products, many of which are potent modulators of cellular functions including immune response, angiogenesis, inflammation, cell cycle, apoptosis, mutagenesis, and DNA repair. In the last decade, multiple investigators have identified HCMV infection specifically in human malignancies including malignant glioma, colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, medulloblastoma, salivary gland (mucoepidermoid) carcinoma, neuroblastoma, and rhabdomyosarcoma. Considerable controversy exists as to whether a) HCMV infection is actually present in these malignancies, and b) if present, whether HCMV is involved in the initiation and/or promotion of the tumors. Should HCMV persistently infect various human cancer types, it is possible that multiple viral-driven oncogenic mechanisms may potentially be involved. Given the emerging nature of this field, the present group of articles will provide an overview of the epidemiological, pathological and therapeutic aspects relating to HCMV in human cancer.


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