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Ann Glob Health. 2014 Sep-Oct;80(5):384-92. doi: 10.1016/j.aogh.2014.09.013.

Infection and cancer: global distribution and burden of diseases.

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Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; The Risk Appraisal and Prevention Branch, National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Republic of Korea.
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Cancer Registry of Norway, Oslo, Norway, Department of Genetic Epidemiology, Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland, and Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway. Electronic address:



Infection is one of the main risk factors for cancer.


Epidemiology, pathogenesis, and disease burden of infection-related cancers were reviewed by infectious agents.


Chronic infection with Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B and C viruses, Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1, human papillomavirus (HPV), human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1, Helicobacter pylori, Clonorchis sinensis, Opisthorchis viverrini, and Schistosoma haematobium are associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma; lymphoma and leukemia, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and Burkitt lymphoma; hepatocellular carcinoma; Kaposi sarcoma; oropharyngeal carcinoma; cervical carcinoma and carcinoma of other anogential sites; adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma; gastric carcinoma; cholangiocarcinoma; and urinary bladder cancer. In 2008, approximately 2 million new cancer cases (16%) worldwide were attributable to infection. If these infections could be prevented and/or treated, it is estimated that there would be about 23% fewer cancers in less developed regions of the world, and about 7% fewer cancers in more developed regions.


Widespread application of existing public health methods for the prevention of infection, such as vaccination, safer injection practices, quality-assured screening of all donated blood and blood components, antimicrobial treatments, and safer sex practices, including minimizing one's lifetime number of sexual partners and condom use, could have a substantial effect on the future burden of cancer worldwide.


burden; cancer; infection; vaccination

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