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Virus may cause prostate cancer, researchers claim

8th September 2009

Scientists have linked a virus known to cause animal leukaemia with the development of human prostate cancer cells.

If further tests of the Xenotropic murine leukemia related virus (XMRV) prove that it is the cause of prostate cancer, it could help with diagnosis and preventative treatment in the future.

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer among men in the US, according to the University of Utah and Columbia University researchers, who published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Senior study author Ila Singh said: 'We found that XMRV was present in 27 per cent of prostate cancers we examined and that it was associated with more aggressive tumors.

'We still don't know that this virus causes cancer in people, but that is an important question we're going to investigate.'

The NHS estimates that prostate cancer is responsible for 25 per cent of newly diagnosed cases of cancer across England and Wales.

Most cases develop in men aged 65 or over.

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