Retrovirus Linked to Most Agressive Form of Prostate Cancer

September 7, 2009

(ChattahBox)— Researchers have linked a little-known retrovirus to the most aggressive form of prostate cancer, which may lead to better testing to detect the cancer and develop a more effective treatment plan. The virus is named, XMRV and was present in forty-four percent of men with tumors graded 9 out of 10 for severity on a standard scale.

The study was conducted by lead researcher, Ila Singh, an associate professor of pathology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The discovery of the virus could help doctors differentiate the riskiest cases, from the slow growing tumors. Many slow growing tumors don’t require aggressive treatment with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, which carry side effects.

But the more aggressive therapies are warranted for the worst form of prostate cancer, which is often hard to detect, even after a PSA test and a biopsy.

“There is a need for a better test to help determine who would benefit from treatment versus who could be left alone. If this virus turns out to be a cause for a subset of aggressive tumors, then it would be a good test to use and might be better than PSA,” Singh told Bloomberg news.

According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, nearly 1 million men have received aggressive treatments for prostate cancer over the past two decades, because of increased use of PSA testing. Many of those treatments may have been unnecessary.

Singh and her team of researchers have developed a test to detect the presence of the XMRV virus inside cells. Singh believes that the virus may trigger prostate cancer, by taking hold in the cell’s genome next to DNA that controls cell growth, causing cells to replicate uncontrollably.

The full study is available in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



One Response to “Retrovirus Linked to Most Agressive Form of Prostate Cancer”

  1. Mike on September 8th, 2009 9:11 pm

    Interesting, but we need to see some more articles on the following:
    1)over 200 epidemiology studies now show low vitamin D is associated with cancer
    2)a double blind placebo controlled study has confirmed these findings ie taking vitamin D prevents cancer(Lappe2007)
    3)the mechanism by which vitamin D prevents cancer has been clearly defined
    4)the Canadian cancer society have been recommending that everyone take vitamin D to prevent cancer for over two years

    You can see all these data at

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