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J Urol. 1988 Feb;139(2):308-10.

Viral etiology of testicular tumors.

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Department of Urology, University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Houston 77030.


Testicular carcinoma and Hodgkin's disease are among the most frequent malignancies afflicting young men in the 15 to 39-year age group. These malignancies share other epidemiological characteristics as well, including multiple histological tumor types, higher rates of occurrence in white, urbanized populations and upper social classes, relative infrequency among black populations, low but definite familial occurrence and an early geographically acquired lifetime risk irrespective of later migration. Both diseases are increasing in this country. This epidemiological similarity suggests exposure to an infectious agent early in life. The Epstein-Barr virus is known to be oncogenic and neonatal exposure with early infection is believed to be associated with Burkitt's lymphoma in African children. High titers of antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus capsid antigen also have been reported in a series of studies comparing patients with Hodgkin's disease and controls. Because testicular cancer is epidemiologically similar to Hodgkin's disease and, therefore, might be expected to manifest similar Epstein-Barr virus findings, we performed a viral screen (Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and hepatitis A and B viruses) on blood samples from 56 consecutive patients with clinical stage I germ cell tumors of the testis who had received no active therapy after orchiectomy. Our results show a high incidence (80 per cent) of previous exposure to Epstein-Barr virus and support the hypothesis of a possible infectious origin for testicular carcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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