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Prostate Cancer and Novel Infections

Among African American men, prostate cancer risk was reported to be increased with serologic evidence of prior syphilis, but other associations with sexually transmitted infections or activities have been inconsistent. DCEG investigators completed a case-control study in which prostate cancer was not associated with Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus seropositivity in either African or European American men. 

In recent years, a novel infectious agent, xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV), has been identified and hypothesized to be linked to cancer development. First described in 2006, this virus has been suggested to be linked to the development of prostate cancer. DCEG investigators conducted one seroepidemiological study in collaboration with investigators at Johns Hopkins to evaluate the possible link between XMRV and prostate cancer, but it quickly became evident that serological and molecular methods for the measurement of XMRV require further standardization before the association between this infectious agent and prostate cancer can be evaluated in a reproducible manner. A workshop convened at NCI to evaluate the evidence for an association between XMRV and prostate cancer/other diseases recommended the need for assay standardization efforts. DCEG investigators are consulting with CCR researchers developing plans for a study to compare results across various assays in multiple laboratories. Once valid assays are available, epidemiological evaluations can ensue.

For more information, contact Charles Rabkin or James Goedert.

Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch – Research Areas