Viruses and Human Cancer

  • Yechiel Becker
  • Julia Hadar


Cancer is a general term used when a group of cells escapes from the tissue control mechanisms and begins to proliferate at an abnormal rate in the body. Leukemias and lymphomas are lymphoproliferative disorders of the bone marrow and the blood; osteosarcoma involves the bones; and hepatoma involves the liver cells. Essentially, cancer cells can arise in all tissues as a response to intrinsic or extrinsic factors that are largely unknown. It is well documented that chemical carcinogens and radiation damage can lead to the transformation of a normal cell into a cancer cell capable of unlimited development and tumor formation. Cigarette smoking was shown to be associated with cancer of the lung. Environmentalists demand the removal of chemical carcinogens from the environment to reduce the incidence of cancer in humans, but this is an unrealistic approach. As regards viruses, some retroviruses are endogenous in humans, as has been shown with breast cancer, but the factors that control sensitivity or resistance to cancer are largely unknown. This is because genetic markers for determining these parameters are not yet available. Thus certain individuals develop cancer, while most of the population remains unaffected.


Cervical Cancer Acute Myelogenous Leukemia Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus Chemical Carcinogen Woolly Monkey 
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Recommended Reading

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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yechiel Becker
    • 1
  • Julia Hadar
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Virology Institute of Microbiology, Faculty of MedicineHebrew University of JerusalemIsrael

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