An Overview of 8 Viruses That Can Cause Cancer

Published by W Butcher on

Approximately 10 percent of cancer cases worldwide are thought to be caused by viruses. Viruses can be roughly divided into two types—those that have DNA as their genetic material and those that have RNA. The effects of both types of viruses on cancer development are highly complicated. Both have been found to be associated with cancers of different types, and one type can cause various types of cancer. Compared to other viruses, oncogenic viruses are unusual because they infect, rather than kill their host cells. This allows oncogenic viruses to cause lasting, persistent infections. Many virus-associated cancers can take years to become symptomatic as the viruses depend on weakened host immunity, environmental factors, and host cellular mutations. Here we briefly review eight known oncologic viruses.

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