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Trends Microbiol. 2007 Jan;15(1):38-44. Epub 2006 Nov 20.

DNA tumor viruses and human cancer.

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  • 1Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, CB #7295, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


There is a strong association between viruses and the development of human malignancies. A group of oncogenic DNA viruses exists in the human population today, members of which serve as infectious agents of cancer worldwide. The group includes the Epstein-Barr virus, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, human papillomaviruses and human polyomaviruses. Globally, it is estimated that 20% of all cancers are linked to infectious agents. Studies of DNA viruses have contributed to our current understanding of the key molecular players in the transformation process. Research has also shed light on the molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis that are employed by these viruses and there are indications that cofactors could be required for viral oncogenicity in some cases.

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