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A team of scientists in Cleveland and San Francisco said today that they have discovered a new virus among patients who had a rare form of prostate cancer and a particular genetic mutation. ...But the researchers do not know whether the virus causes prostate cancer, infection or any other ailment in humans, they reported at a scientific meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in San Francisco. The virus, called XMRV, could even prove to be harmless. ...Still, finding a virus in even a rare form of prostate cancer intrigues scientists because of growing suspicions that prostate cancer might result from chronic inflammation from infection with some bacterium or virus.
Other viruses are believed to cause certain cancers of the liver and cervix. ...The SMRV virus is closely related to a group of retroviruses found in mice and known as xenotropic murine leukemia virus. (Xenotropic means that the virus crossed species.) Though members of this group can cause disease in animals other than mice, there has been no documented human infection until the report from the researchers at the Cleveland Clinic and University of California at San Francisco.
Prostate cancer is the most frequent cancer of men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men 50 and older in the United States.