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 24 June 2018

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News

Human cytomegalovirus may be involved in colorectal cancer

Preliminary findings of a study in this week's issue of the Lancet, suggest that a common human virus may play a part in the cellular processes involved in the development of colorectal cancer.

News image

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Colorectal cancer is the second most frequent cause of death from cancer in many developed countries.

2 specific human CMV proteins detected in 80% of polyps and in 85% of colorectal cancer samples.
Lancet
Most tumors arise sporadically with no clear cause or genetic predisposition.

Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a widespread virus that is not usually associated with illness among people with a healthy immune response.

However, laboratory studies have shown that CMV can disrupt cellular processes with the potential to promote malignant growth, particularly affecting colorectal cancer-cell development.

Assoc. Prof. Charles Cobbs from Birmingham, USA, and colleagues assessed whether gene products of human CMV could be detected in colorectal cancers.

They obtained specimens of colorectal polyps, adenocarcinomas, and adjacent normal cells from 29 people.

The team detected 2 specific human CMV proteins, in around 80% of 2 groups of polyps and in around 85% of 2 groups of colorectal cancer samples.

Charles Cobbs comments, "Human cytomegalovirus nucleic acids and proteins can be found that specifically localize to neoplastic cells in human colorectal polyps and adenocarcinomas, and virus infection can induce important oncogenic pathways in colon-cancer cells".

"In view of the many cellular modulatory properties of this virus, our data justify further studies to establish whether human cytomegalovirus participates in pathogenesis of colorectal cancer."

Lancet 2002; 360(9345): 1557-3
15 November 2002

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