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Infections Causing Human Cancer

ISBN: 978-3-527-60929-1
531 pages
September 2007, Wiley-Blackwell
Infections Causing Human Cancer (3527609296) cover image


Infections must be thought as one of the most important, if not the most important, risk factors for cancer development in humans. Approximately 15-20% of all cases of cancer around the world are caused by viruses. The
establishment of a causal relationship between the presence of specific infective agents and certain types of human cancer represents a key step in the development of novel therapeutic and preventive strategies.

In this book, Professor zur Hausen (Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine 2008) provides a thorough and comprehensive overview on carcinogenic infective agents -- viruses, bacteria, parasites and protozoons -- as well as their corresponding transforming capacities and mechanisms. The result is an invaluable and instructive reference for all oncologists, microbiologists and molecular biologists working in the area of infections and cancer.

The author was among the first scientists to reveal the cervical cancer-inducing mechanisms of human papilloma viruses and isolated HPV16 and HPV18, and, as early as 1976, published the hypothesis that wart viruses
play a role in the development of this type of cancer.
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Table of Contents

1 Historical Review.

1.1 The Early Period (1898–1911).

1.2 Frustration and Successes (1912–1950).

1.3 The Period from 1950 to 1965.

1.4 A First Human Tumorvirus?

1.5 The Difficult 1970s.

1.6 The Re-Emergence of a Concept.


2 The Quest for Causality.

2.1 Infectious Agents as Direct Carcinogens.

2.2 Infectious Agents as Indirect Carcinogens.


3 Tumors Linked to Infections: Some General Aspects.

3.1 Tumor Types Linked to Infections.

3.2 Global Contributions of Infections to Human Cancers.

3.3 Host Interactions with Potentially Carcinogenic Infections: The CIF Concept.


4 Herpesviruses and Oncogenesis.

4.1 Alphaherpesvirinae.

4.2 Betaherpesvirinae.

4.3 Gammaherpesvirinae (Lymphocryptoviruses).

4.4 Rhadinoviruses.


5 Papillomavirus Infections: A Major Cause of Human Cancers.

5.1 Introduction.

5.2 The Concept of Cellular Interfering Cascades: Immunological, Intracellular and Paracrine Host Factors Influencing Viral Oncogene Expression or Function.

5.3 Cancers Linked to HPV Infections.

5.4 The Role of Cofactors.

5.5 Preventive Vaccination.

5.6 Therapeutic Vaccination.

5.7 Therapy.


6 Hepadnaviruses.

6.1 Hepatitis B.


7 Flaviviruses.

7.1 Hepatitis C Virus.


8 Retrovirus Family.

8.1 Human T-Lymphotropic Retrovirus (HTLV-1) .

8.2 Human T-Lymphotropic Retrovirus-2 (HTLV-2).

8.3 Human Endogenous Retroviruses.

8.4 Gibbon Ape Leukemia Virus and Simian Sarcoma Virus.


9 Other Virus Infections Possibly Involved in Human Cancers.

9.1 Polyomaviruses (JC, BK, and SV40).


10 Helicobacter, Chronic Inflammation, and Cancer (James G. Fox, Timothy C. Wang, and Julie Parsonnet).

10.1 Discovery, Taxonomy, and Genomics.

10.2 Life Cycle, Specificity, and Virulence Determinants in Cancer Development.

10.3 Prevention of H. pylori-Induced Cancer.

10.4 Animal Models.

10.5 Virulence Determinants of Enterohepatic Helicobacter spp.

10.6 Enterohepatic Helicobacter spp.: Are they Co-Carcinogens?


11 Parasites and Human Cancers.

11.1 Schistosoma Infections.

11.2 Infection with Liver Flukes (Opisthorchis viverrini, O. felineus, Clonorchis sinensis).


12 Cancers with a Possible Infectious Etiology.

12.1 Leukemias and Lymphomas.

12.2 Human Breast Cancer.

12.3 Other Human Cancers Possibly Linked to Infectious Events.


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Author Information

Harald zur Hausen studied medicine at the Universities of Bonn, Hamburg and Düsseldorf, gaining his MD in 1960. He was a research fellow at the University of Düsseldorf and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, before being appointed assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. He joined the University of Würzburg one year later, initially as a senior scientist and then as a private lecturer. From 1972 to 1977 he was Professor of Virology at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, and then at the University of Freiburg until 1983. Thereafter, he was appointed Scientific Director of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg until his retirement in 2003.

Professor zur Hausen has been a member of various research organizations, academies of science, and scientific boards. He was President of OECI, Vice-Chairman of the German American Academic Council and Vice-President of the Helmholtz Society of German National Research Centers. Among others, he received the Robert Koch Award, the Charles S. Mott Prize of the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation, the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Award, the German Cancer Award, the Prince Mahidol Award of Thailand, the Federal Order of Merit and the American Association of Cancer Research's Award for Lifetime Achievement, as well as six honorary degrees in six different countries.

Harald zur Hausen is on the editorial board of several scientific journals and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Cancer, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the International Union Against Cancer. Professor zur Hausen has organized or co-organized a number of international meetings. Together with Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Professor Luc Montagnier, he has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2008. He was recognized "for his discovery of human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer."

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"This book will serve as a useful reference in understanding some of these infectious agents and their role in development of cancer." (The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, March 2008)

"The causal relationship between infectious diseases and cancer is at the core of this engaging text…" (Journal of the American Medical Association, February 20, 2008)

"This interesting collection of research and ideas should lead to some challenging discoveries, and hopefully, therapy to treat and prevent cancer." (Doody's Health Services)

"…suitable as a teaching text in all advanced medicine courses that seek to explore the causal basis for cancer…practicing scientists in the realm of oncology, microbiology and molecular biology will find zur Hausen's treatise applicable to advancing their own research." (Electric Review, February/March 2007)

"You should consider purchasing it." (Lab Times)

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Related Websites / Extra

Wikipedia Find more information about Harald zur Hausen
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2008 View the official announcement
Interview Listen to a telephone interview with Harald zur Hausen immediately following the announcement of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 6 October 2008
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