Viruses May Trigger Lung Cancer Development

Armen Hareyan's picture

Viruses causing measles and human papillomavirus may create auspicious conditions for lung cancer to develop.

Two independent researches conducted by US and Israeli showed that there is a stronger link between viruses and lung cancer. Viruses may weaken healthy tissues making them more vulnerable to cancer causing factor, such as smoking. Weakened tissues have higher risk for developing dangerous cancer causing mutation.


The study conducted by University of Louisville in Kentucky scientists examined 23 patients suffering from non-small cell lung cancer. 6 of these patients were human papilloma virus (HPV) infected. One of these patients had cervical cancer caused by HPV which later spread to lungs. These 5 patients were infected with different strains of HPV, showing that the infection is definitely linked to risk for developing lung cancer.

Another team of scientists from Soroka Medical Centre in Beer Sheva, Israel examined 64 patients with non-small cell lung cancer. 54% of these patients had measles infections of different levels. Scientists think that measles itself can't cause lung cancer, but it can modify the effect of other cancer causing factors.

Scientists find these researches very important in further development of cancer vaccines. It is known that some of cancers are caused by certain viruses, like cervical cancer is caused by HPV infection. Vaccinating against HPV lowers risk for developing lung cancer. Similarly, if researchers find other infections faulty in certain types of cancer, it will be possible stop cancer by vaccinating against the infections.

Lung cancer is affecting about 1.3 million people each year. It's the most common cancer and the one with lowest survival rate. 85% of the disease is accounted as non-small cell lung cancer. It is well known that 90% of lung cancer cases is caused by cigarette smoking, which means that quitting smoking is the most important preventable action against lung cancer.