Epidemiology of Virus Infection and Human Cancer

Chien Jen Chen*, San Lin You, Wan Lun Hsu, Hwai I. Yang, Mei Hsuan Lee, Hui Chi Chen, Yun Yuan Chen, Jessica Liu, Hui Han Hu, Yu Ju Lin, Yu Ju Chu, Yen Tsung Huang, Chun Ju Chiang, Yin Chu Chien

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Seven viruses including the Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), Kaposi’s sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV), human immunodeficiency virus, type-1 (HIV-1), human T cell lymphotrophic virus, type-1 (HTLV-1), and human papillomavirus (HPV) have been classified as Group 1 human carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The conclusions are based on the findings of epidemiological and mechanistic studies. EBV, HPV, HTLV-1, and KSHV are direct carcinogens; HBV and HCV are indirect carcinogens through chronic inflammation; and HIV-1 is an indirect carcinogen through immune suppression. Some viruses may cause more than one cancer, while some cancers may be caused by more than one virus. However, only a proportion of persons infected by these oncogenic viruses will develop specific cancers. A series of studies have been carried out to assess the viral, host, and environmental cofactors of EBV-associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma, HBV/HCV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma, and HPV-associated cervical carcinoma. Persistent infection, high viral load, and viral genotype are important risk predictors of these virus-caused cancers. Risk calculators incorporating host and viral risk predictors have been developed for the prediction of long-term risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma and cervical cancer. These risk calculators are useful for the triage and clinical management of infected patients. Both clinical trials and national programs of immunization, antiviral therapy and screening have demonstrated a significant reduction in the incidence of cancers caused by HBV, HCV, and HPV. Future research on gene–gene and gene–environment interactions of oncogenic viruses and the human host using large-scale longitudinal studies with serial measurements of biosignatures are in urgent need.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRecent Results in Cancer Research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages33
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Publication series

NameRecent Results in Cancer Research
ISSN (Print)0080-0015
ISSN (Electronic)2197-6767


  • Cancer
  • EBV
  • Epidemiology
  • HBV
  • HCV
  • HIV
  • HPV
  • HTLV-I
  • KSHV


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