Infections Causing Human Cancer


Written by the Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 2008

In the 1970s, the author of this work and his co-workers initially found Epstein-Barr virus DNA in Burkitt’s lymphomas and nasopharyngeal cancer and made the connection between HPV infection and cervical cancer. It was also during this period and subsequently that scientists all over the world discovered tumor-inducing bacteria, viruses, parasites, and protozoa, opening up ...

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Written by the Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 2008

In the 1970s, the author of this work and his co-workers initially found Epstein-Barr virus DNA in Burkitt’s lymphomas and nasopharyngeal cancer and made the connection between HPV infection and cervical cancer. It was also during this period and subsequently that scientists all over the world discovered tumor-inducing bacteria, viruses, parasites, and protozoa, opening up entirely new prospects for the prevention and treatment of infection-induced cancer by vaccination.

Adopting a unifying concept and a consistent structure for the individual chapters, Professor zur Hausen provides a thorough and comprehensive overview on cancer-inducing infective agents — viruses, bacteria and parasites — and their corresponding transforming capacities and mechanisms. He does not cover the structure and molecular biology of the agents presented in great detail, but rather concentrates on those aspects that link the respective agents to human oncogenesis. As such, an extensive bibliography after each chapter permits further studies on the subject.

With a chapter on Helicobacter written by James Fox and his colleagues at Harvard University, this is an invaluable and instructive reference for all oncologists, microbiologists and molecular biologists working in the area of infections and cancer.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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)

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Rebecca T. Horvat, PhD, D (ABMM)(University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: This unique examination of the role of infectious agents in human cancers begins with a historical perspective then moves through chapters that analyze specific examples of infections and human cancers.
Purpose: According to the author, the purpose was to "write a comprehensive book on the role of infectious agents in human cancers." This is an interesting proposal and perspective from an author who was formerly a scientific director of a cancer research center. It certainly makes readers question the interaction of various infectious agents that may contribute to or trigger the carcinogenesis pathway.
Audience: The book is appropriate for all professionals involved in the discovery of the causes of cancer. These discoveries may lead to additional preventive strategies, such as the vaccines now available to prevent human papillomavirus-associated cancers. This author clearly has the expertise to write on this subject after spending a lifetime in cancer research.
Features: The historical review that begins the book is followed by a review of epidemiology and the idea of infections initiating carcinogenesis. An interesting statistic is the estimate that approximately 20 percent of global cancers seem to be due to infectious events. The chapters that follow give specific examples and review the complex issue of finding causality between the infectious agent and cancer. This also involves host factors and environmental factors as well as subtypes of the infectious agent. Some viral agents may lead to activation of other latent viruses that cause genetic damage leading to the deregulation of the cell cycle. Although most of the infectious agents discussed are viral, there is a chapter discussing the bacteria Helicobacter pylori and the parasite Schistosoma.
Assessment: This is one of the most remarkable books I have read recently. It integrates the information gleaned from the infectious disease epidemiology with the basic scientific discoveries of viral integration and replication with the host cellular mechanisms. This allows for a unique perspective on the role of infectious agents in driving the cell into carcinogenesis. This interesting collection of research and ideas should lead to some challenging discoveries and, hopefully, therapy to treat and prevent cancer.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783527310562
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/29/2006
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 531
  • Product dimensions: 7.01 (w) x 9.76 (h) x 1.23 (d)

Meet the Author

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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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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