A built-in co-carcinogenic effect due to viruses involved in latent or persistent infections

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Lars-Georg Hersoug
  • José Arnau
A new hypothesis for some cancers, which combines the chromosomal instability theories with a co-carcinogenic effect of viruses causing latent or persistent infection, is presented. The hypothesis incorporates the multi-step model of cancer and that pre-cancerous cells reach a state of chromosomal instability. Because of chromosomal instability, the genome of these cell lines will lead to changes from generation to generation and will face a remarkable selection pressure both from lost traits, apoptosis, and from the immune system. Viruses causing latent or persistent infections have evolved many different genes capable to evade the immune system. If these viruses are harboured in the genome of pre-cancerous cells they could provide them with "superpowers" and with genes that may assist the cells to elude the immune system. The theory explains why cancer predominantly is a disease of old age. Upon aging, the immune system becomes reduced including the ability to control and suppress the viruses that cause latent or persistent infections. The risk of cancer could thereby increase as the immune functions decrease. The theory provides new insights to the genesis of cancers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1001-8
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Research areas

  • Animals, Chronic Disease, Communicable Diseases, Humans, Models, Biological, Neoplasms, Virus Latency, Virus Physiological Phenomena, Viruses

ID: 45422517