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J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2001 Jul-Sep;15(3):224-8.

Viral infections and cancer: epidemiological aspects.

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Epidemiologic Department, National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani-IRCCS, Rome, Italy.


Viral infections represent one of the areas in which cancer research has made the greatest advances in the last 20 years. In 1981, only two viruses were known to cause human cancer, i.e., the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and the hepatitis B virus (HBV). By 1995, it was estimated that approximately 15% of all cancers occurring world-wide were attributable to viral infections, and the oncogenic role of seven viruses [i.e., EBV, HBV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), human papillomavirus (HPV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8), and human T cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I)] has been well-established. In this paper, the epidemiological evidence concerning some of the major aspects of the association between viruses and cancer are summarised.

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