Sunday, November 27, 2011

More evidence for link between HCMV and cancer

Until now, a link between Human cytomegalovirus and glioblastoma multiforme, a type of brain cancer, has only been supported by a few scientists. A new study at the University of Wisconsin at Madison has provided more supporting evidence for the claim, however. The team looked at three things in their study: whether HCMV was present in 75 glioblastoma multiforme samples; if so, whether the entire genome of the virus was present; and which cells within the tumor were infected. Their results showed that HCMV is statistically more likely to be present in glioblastoma multiforme tumors than in other types of brain tumors and that the entire genome was present in infected cells, but that very few of the tumor cells were infected with the virus. They postulate that this is because HCMV might only infect tumor stem cells, which would be something that has not been seen before in oncogenic viruses.

Keep in mind that this does not show a causal link between HCMV and cancer, unlike other viruses such as HPV, HCV and EBV.

-Emily Mitchell

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