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Virulence. 2010 Mar-Apr;1(2):84-7. doi: 10.4161/viru.1.2.10487.

Schistosoma haematobium and bladder cancer: what lies beneath?

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Centre for Parasite Immunology and Biology, National Institute of Health, Porto, Portugal.


Schistosoma haematobium is a parasitic flatworm that infects millions of people, mostly in the developing world, and is associated with high incidence of bladder cancer although why is not clear. But our group was able to define the mechanistic relationship for the first time between infection of S. haematobium and cancer. We used in vitro models to demonstrate the presence of informative carcinogenesis-associated phenotypes in CHO cells exposed to Sh total antigen, in which we showed increased cell proliferation, decreased apoptosis, up regulation of the anti-apoptotic molecule Bcl-2, down regulation of the tumor suppressor protein p27, and increased cell migration and invasion. We further discuss the molecular and cellular events that might be responsible for schistosomiasis-related bladder cancer.

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