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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

The role of infectious agents in urogenital cancers

Kenneth Alibek12, Nargis Karatayeva1* and Ildar Bekniyazov1

Author Affiliations

1 Nazarbayev University, 53 Kabanbay Batyr Avenue, Astana 010000, Kazakhstan

2 Republican Scientific Center for Emergency Care, 3 Kerey and Zhanibek Khan Street, Astana 010000, Kazakhstan

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Infectious Agents and Cancer 2012, 7:35  doi:10.1186/1750-9378-7-35

Published: 3 December 2012

Abstract

Since the late 1990s, infectious agents have been thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of approximately 15% of cancers. It is now widely accepted that infection of stomach tissue with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori is an important cause of stomach adenocarcinoma. In addition, oncogenic viruses, such as papilloma viruses, herpes viruses, and hepadnaviruses are strongly associated with increased risk of cervical cancer, lymphomas, liver cancer, amongst others. However, in the scientific community the percentage of cancers caused by pathogens is believed to be far higher than 15%. A significant volume of data collected to date show an association between infectious agents and urogenital cancers. These agents include Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoea, Mycoplasma genitalium and certain viruses that have been implicated in ovarian cancer. Other pathogens include the hepatitis C and Epstein-Barr viruses, which are potentially involved in kidney cancer. In addition, infections with Schistosoma haematobium, the human papillomavirus, and human polyomaviruses are strongly associated with an increased risk of urinary bladder cancer. This article reviews publications available to date on the role of infectious agents in urogenital cancers. A greater understanding of the role of such agents could aid the identification of novel methods of urogenital cancer treatment.

Keywords:
Urogenital cancers; Ovarian cancer; Cervical cancer; Bladder cancer; Kidney cancer; Chlamydia trachomatis; Neisseria gonorrhea; Mycoplasma genitalium; Schistosoma haematobium; HPV; Epstein-Barr; CMV; Human polyomaviruses