Viral Oncogenesis

  • Cindy Noel Berthelot
  • Stephen K. Tyring
Part of the Molecular Pathology Library book series (MPLB, volume 1)


For more than 100 years, researchers have suspected some tumors have an infectious etiology. In recent years, revelations regarding the origin of human cancers have come at an increasing pace. Infectious agents, mainly viruses, are among the few known causes of cancer and contribute to a variety of malignancies worldwide. In 1911, Peyton Rous successfully transmitted a malignancy from one chicken to another by injecting cell-free extracts from the tumor.1 His work signaled a new era in cancer research, and ultimately the cancer was shown to be caused by an RNA virus, the Rous sarcoma virus. Although scientists sporadically demonstrated the transmissibility of other tumors, the majority of attempts were unsuccessful. A renaissance of the viral hypothesis occurred in 1950 when Ludwik Gross discovered the transmissibility of murine leukemias by infecting newborn mice with tumor extracts.2 His work ushered in many additional studies, eventually leading to the discovery of several other viruses as causative factors of malignancy. In 1964, Epstein and colleagues observed herpesviruslike particles in cells of Burkitt’s lymphoma cell cultures.3


Malignant Mesothelioma Simian Virus Primary Effusion Lymphoma Semin Cancer Biol Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cindy Noel Berthelot
    • 1
  • Stephen K. Tyring
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of Texas Houston Health Science CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Dermatology, Microbiology/Molecular Genetics, and Internal MedicineUniversity of Texas Health Science CenterHoustonUSA

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