Navigation Links
Researchers find first evidence of virus in malignant prostate cells
Date:9/7/2009

(SALT LAKE CITY) In a finding with potentially major implications for identifying a viral cause of prostate cancer, researchers at the University of Utah and Columbia University medical schools have reported that a type of virus known to cause leukemia and sarcomas in animals has been found for the first time in malignant human prostate cancer cells.

If further investigation proves the virus, XMRV (Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus), causes prostate cancer in people, it would open opportunities for developing diagnostic tests, vaccines, and therapies for treating the cancer, according to the study published Sept. 7 online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Prostate cancer is expected to strike nearly 200,000 U.S. males this year, making it the second most common form of cancer, outside of skin cancers, among men.

"We found that XMRV was present in 27 percent of prostate cancers we examined and that it was associated with more aggressive tumors," said Ila R. Singh, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology at University of Utah and the study's senior author. "We still don't know that this virus causes cancer in people, but that is an important question we're going to investigate."

Singh, also a member of the U of U's Huntsman Cancer Institute and associate medical director at ARUP Laboratories, moved to Utah from Columbia University Medical Center in 2008, where she began this research. She remains an adjunct faculty member at Columbia.

Along with providing the first proof that XMRV is present in malignant cells, the study also confirmed that XMRV is a gammaretrovirus, a simple retrovirus first isolated from prostate cancers in 2006 by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and the Cleveland Clinic. Gammaretroviruses are known to cause cancer in animals, but have not been shown to do so in humans. The UCSF study did not examine benign (non-malignant) prostate tissues, so could not link XMRV to prostate cancer. They also did not find the virus in malignant cells.

Singh and her fellow researchers examined more than 200 human prostate cancers, and compared them to more than 100 non-cancerous prostate tissues. They found 27 percent of the cancers contained XMRV, compared to only 6 percent of the benign tissues. The viral proteins were found almost exclusively in malignant prostatic cells, suggesting that XMRV infection may be directly linked to the formation of tumors.

Retroviruses insert a DNA copy of their genome into the chromosomes of the cells they infect. Such an insertion sometimes occurs adjacent to a gene that regulates cell growth, disrupting normal cell growth, resulting in more rapid proliferation of such a cell, which eventually develops into a cancer. This mechanism of carcinogenesis is followed by gammaretroviruses in general. Singh is currently examining if a similar mechanism might be involved with XMRV and prostate cancer.

In another important finding of the study, Singh and her colleagues also showed that susceptibility to XMRV infection is not enhanced by a genetic mutation, as was previously reported. If XMRV were caused by the mutation, only the 10 percent of the population who carry the mutated gene would be at risk for infection with virus. But Singh found no connection between XMRV and the mutation, meaning the risk for infection may extend to the population at large.

While the study answers important questions about XMRV, it also raises a number of other questions, such as whether the virus infects women, is sexually transmitted, how prevalent it is in the general population, and whether it causes cancers in tissues other than the prostate.

"We have many questions right now," Singh said, "and we believe this merits further investigation."

Viruses have been shown to cause cancer of the cervix, connective tissues (sarcomas), immune system (lymphoma), and other organs. If the retrovirus is shown to cause prostate cancer, this could have important implications for preventing viral transmission and for developing vaccines to prevent XMRV infection in people.


'/>"/>

Contact: Phil Sahm
phil.sahm@hsc.utah.edu
801-581-2517
University of Utah Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Diabetes advance: Researchers find gene that causes resistance to insulin
2. Researchers find 2 more genetic risk factors for Alzheimers disease
3. Researchers restore missing protein in rare genetic brain disorder
4. Mayo Clinic researchers find that protein believed to protect against cancer has a Mr. Hyde side
5. Species diversity helps ASU researchers refine analyses of human gene mutations
6. UT Southwestern researchers examine mechanisms that help cancer cells proliferate
7. Marine biomedicine researchers decode structure of promising sea compound
8. Researchers report gene associated with language, speech and reading disorders
9. Bats use love songs during mating, researchers say
10. Idaho researchers win grant to explore DNA frontier
11. UCSF researchers identify 2 key pathways in adaptive response
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... offering. ... market to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period ... has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs ... growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017 Today ... announcing that the server component of the HYPR platform ... for providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million users ... including manufacturers of connected home product suites and physical ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 2017 The research team of The Hong ... fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and ... speed and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, ... ... A research team led ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... announced the three Winners and six Finalists of the 2017 Blavatnik Regional Awards ... the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... of a United States multicenter, prospective clinical study that demonstrates the accuracy ... test capable of identifying clinically significant acute bacterial and viral respiratory tract ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, ... in analytical testing are being attributed to new regulatory requirements for all new ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... At ... Purple announced Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist ... has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: