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Potential impact of human cytomegalovirus infection on immunity to ovarian tumours and cancer progression


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Cox, M, Kartikasari, AER, Gorry, PR, Flanagan, KL and Plebanski, M 2021 , 'Potential impact of human cytomegalovirus infection on immunity to ovarian tumours and cancer progression' , Biomedicines, vol. 9, no. 4 , pp. 1-16 , doi: 10.3390/biomedicines9040351.

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Ovarian cancer (OC) is one of the most common, and life-threatening gynaecological cancer affecting females. Almost 75% of all OC cases are diagnosed at late stages, where the 5-year survival rate is less than 30%. The aetiology of the disease is still unclear, and there are currently no screening method nor effective treatment strategies for the advanced disease. A growing body of evidence shows that human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infecting more than 50% of the world population, may play a role in inducing carcinogenesis through its immunomodulatory activities. In healthy subjects, the primary HCMV infection is essentially asymptomatic. The virus then establishes a life-long chronic latency primarily in the hematopoietic progenitor cells in the bone marrow, with periodic reactivation from latency that is often characterized by high levels of circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines. Currently, infection-induced chronic inflammation is considered as an essential process for OC progression and metastasis. In line with this observation, few recent studies have identified high expressions of HCMV proteins on OC tissue biopsies that were associated with poor survival outcomes. Active HCMV infection in the OC tumour microenvironment may thus directly contribute to OC progression. In this review, we highlight the potential impact of HCMV infection-induced immunomodulatory effects on host immune responses to OC that may promote OC progression.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Cox, M and Kartikasari, AER and Gorry, PR and Flanagan, KL and Plebanski, M
Keywords: human cytomegalovirus, ovarian cancer, cancer progression, inflammation, immunosuppression
Journal or Publication Title: Biomedicines
Publisher: MDPI AG
ISSN: 2227-9059
DOI / ID Number: 10.3390/biomedicines9040351
Copyright Information:

Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons (CC BY 4.0) Attribution license (

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