The International Agency for Research on Cancer has recently reassessed the carcinogenicity of the biological agents classified as ‘carcinogenic to humans’. Among the biological agents having a direct role in carcinogenesis, Epstein-Barr virus, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus and human papillomavirus contribute to a variety of malignancies worldwide in humans including nasopharyngeal carcinoma, several types of lymphomas, genital tract carcinomas and Kaposi's sarcoma. The authors review the current knowledge on cancers that have been attributed to Epstein-Barr virus, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus and human papillomavirus looking at the pathological classification of these cancers and description of the implicated viruses, highlighting a wide range of pathological and virological diagnostic techniques. This review also focuses on the new oncological scenario ahead, once strategies against carcinogenic infectious agents are found to be effective.
- Hodgkin's disease
- cancer research
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Search strategy and selection criteria References for this review were identified through searches of PubMed for articles published from January 1992 to August 2010, by use of the terms vaccination, viral agents, carcinogenesis, oncogenic viruses. Articles from IARC Monographs have also been reviewed.
AC has been a member of WHO IARC Monograph Working Group on Biological Agents, Lyon—2009.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.