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Breakthrough insight into HPV

Prostate cancer is a common urological malignancy and an important health concern worldwide. The exact mechanisms of the progression of prostate gland into a cancer are not well characterized. The immune responses influence the development of prostate cancer as infectious agents are potent factors in prostatic inflammation. Viral infections in particular may lead to chronic inflammation of the prostate and lead to initiation or development of prostate cancer1. The emerging epidemiological studies have suggested that prostate tissue is prone to sexually transmitted infection with several viruses having oncogenic potential such as polyomaviruses (SV40), HPVs and members of the herpes virus family. Harald zur Hausen received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine 2008 for the discovery of the oncogenic potential of HPV in cervical cancer. Human papillomavirus is a small, non-enveloped DNA virus with a circular, double stranded DNA genome of approximately 8 Kb genome size. The HPV participates in cancer initiation/ progression through its E6 and E7 oncogenes that interact with and inhibit the activities of critical components of cellcycle regulatory systems of the host, in particular E6 with p53 gene and E7 with Rb gene.

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