A “hit-and-run” affair – A possible link for cancer progression in virally driven cancers

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Ferreira, Danyelle A
Tayyar, Yaman
Idris, Adi
McMillan, Nigel AJ
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Background: It is well-known that certain cancers are caused by viruses. However, viral oncogenesis is complex and only a small fraction of the infected people develop cancer. Indeed, a number of environmental factors can contribute to virally infected cells developing cancer hallmarks, promoting tumorigenesis. Scope of review: The hit-and-run theory proposes that viruses facilitate the accumulation of mutations and promote genomic instability until the virus becomes dispensable for tumour maintenance. Indeed, several studies have reported viral genome, episome and/or oncogene loss in tumour cells without losing malignant phenotype. Major conclusions: The current evidence supports the clear contribution of certain viruses to develop cancers. Importantly, the evidence supporting the sustained maintenance of malignancy after the loss of viral “presence” is sufficient to support the hit-and-run hypothesis of viral cancer development. Long-term tracking of vaccination outcome over the decades will test this theory. General significance: If the hit-and-run theory is true, viruses might cause more cancers than previously thought and will have implications in the prevention of many cancers through implementing vaccination programs.

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Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Reviews on Cancer

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© 2020 Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, providing that the work is properly cited.

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Oncology and carcinogenesis

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Ferreira, DA; Tayyar, Y; Idris, A; McMillan, NAJ, A “hit-and-run” affair – A possible link for cancer progression in virally driven cancers, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Reviews on Cancer, 2020