February 12, 1973

Medical News

JAMA. 1973;223(7):731-742. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220070003003

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RNA human cancer virus still eludes researchers  Although proof is still lacking, several strong lines of evidence have linked certain human cancers to two DNA viruses: herpes simplex type II virus— associated with cervical carcinoma—and Epstein-Barr virus—associated with Burkitt's lymphoma and perhaps other cancers.On the other hand, a real, whole RNA virus that may cause human cancer has not yet been caught —or probably not. Candidate viruses have been proclaimed from time to time, only to fade from consideration when further experiments did not bear out their possible role in human cancer.Yet DNA viruses have never been associated with any spontaneous cancers in animals—raising the possibility that they are "passenger" viruses in those human cancers with which they have been associated—whereas RNA viruses are definitely known to cause a variety of animal leukemias, sarcomas, and other cancers.Hence pursuit of a human RNA cancer virus continues in many