Study Suggests Newly Discovered Virus May Cause Prostate Cancer

Reuters Health is reporting that according to researchers, a “newly identified virus, tentatively called XMRV, seems to be associated with the development of prostate cancer in genetically susceptible men.”

The findings were presented Friday morning in San Francisco at the 2006 Prostate Cancer Symposium.

According to a statement from Dr. Eric Klein of the Cleveland Clinic, the XMRV virus is closely related to a virus that causes leukemia in mice, and is a “newly identified infectious agent in humans. While more research is needed to confirm our findings, this could be the first evidence that a virus is linked to prostate cancer.”

The researchers utilized a DNA ViroChip containing the genetic sequences of some 5,000 viruses to analyze prostate tumor samples from 86 men who had undergone prostatectomy.

In comparing the incidence of viral infection between men who had two mutated copies of the HPC1 gene and men with one or no mutations of the gene, the team found XMRV in 45% of the 20 men with two mutated copies of the HPC1 gene but in only 1.5% of the remaining 66 men.

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