The Laboratory for Developmental Genetics at the University of Southern California has confirmed cytomegalovirus (CMV) as a cause of the most common salivary gland cancers. The findings, published in the journal Experimental and Molecular Pathology, are the latest in a series of studies by USC researchers that together demonstrate CMV’s role as an oncovirus, a virus that can either trigger cancer in healthy cells or exploit mutant cell weaknesses to enhance tumor formation.
Researcher and author Michael Melnick, professor of developmental genetics in the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, said the conclusion that CMV is an oncovirus came after rigorous study of both human salivary gland tumors and salivary glands of postnatal mice. This study illustrates not only that the CMV in the tumors is active but also that the amount of virus-created proteins found is positively correlated with the severity of the cancer.
This should be a most productive area of investigation for a long time to come. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and we offer free examinations. Please give us a call and make an appointment.
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 “Human Cytomegalovirus and Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma of Salivary Glands: Cell-Specific Localization of Active Viral and Oncogenic Signaling Proteins is Confirmatory of a Causal Relationship,” was funded by the Oral Biology Fund of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC.