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New Link to Colon Cancer Found

Researchers find genetic evidence of common virus in intestinal tumors

MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- A common human virus may be associated with colon cancer.

So says a study in the December issue of Cancer Research.

Temple University researchers say they found evidence that the JC virus (JCV) may play a role in development of intestinal tract tumors.

JCV infects more than 90 percent of humans, usually during early childhood. It most likely infects people through the upper respiratory tract and remains latent in most people throughout their lives.

However, in some people with weakened immune systems, JCV can become active and may cause brain cancer.

Along with infecting people through the upper respiratory tract, JCV may get into people through contaminated food and water. That takes the virus into different areas of the body, including the intestinal tract.

The researchers found genetic evidence of JCV in samples of large intestine tumors. However, more research is needed to determine if JCV actually causes those tumors or plays a different role.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about colon cancer.

SOURCE: Temple University, news release, Nov. 30, 2002
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