A new study, published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases (January 1, 2004), is the first to link human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) in the blood with prostate cancer. Earlier reports have tied HHV-8 to Kaposi?s sarcoma, a cancer typically seen in AIDS patients, and to a rare type of lymphoma.
The researchers studied 452 men in Tobago and Trinidad and 376 men from the United States. In the 2 groups, about a third of the men had prostate cancer and the remaining participants were cancerfree. The West Indies group showed nearly 40% of men with prostate cancer had HHV-8 in their blood, almost double the rate among men without cancer. In the US group, the researchers found the rate of HHV-8 infection among men with prostate cancer was 20%, nearly 15% higher than the rate among male blood donors and about 7% higher than the rate among men with non-HHV-8 related cancers.
Senior author Frank J. Jenkins, PhD, emphasized that "this does not mean that HHV-8 causes prostate cancer." Also, he added that previous studies looking for the virus in the prostate gland itself have produced conflicting results.
One study linked multiple pregnancies to an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation later in life, and another investigated the association between premature delivery and cardiovascular disease.
Clinical features with downloadable PDFs