Virus Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Connection may lead to better diagnosis, customized treatment
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2009 6:00 PM CDT
Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, a prostate cancer survivor, poses with a poster of a stamp promoting prostate cancer awareness in this 1999 file photo.   (AP Photo/Chris Gardner, File)
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(Newser) – Aggressive human prostate cancer cells contain a virus associated with cancer in animals, a discovery that raises hopes for more accurate diagnosis and treatment of the disease, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. "We're not saying this virus causes cancer," cautioned the lead researcher. "The best we can say is it is associated with prostate cancer."

The virus, a retrovirus known as XMRV, was present in one-quarter of prostate tumors compared to just 6% of glands without the disease, University of Utah and Columbia University researchers found. "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," the standard diagnostic tool, the researcher told Bloomberg.