Author(s): SaddawiKonefka R, Crawford JR
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Abstract Primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors cause significant morbidity and mortality in both adults and children. While some of the genetic and molecular mechanisms of neuro-oncogenesis are known, much less is known about possible epigenetic contributions to disease pathophysiology. Over the last several decades, chronic viral infections have been associated with a number of human malignancies. In primary CNS malignancies, two families of viruses, namely polyomavirus and herpesvirus, have been detected with varied frequencies in a number of pediatric and adult histological tumor subtypes. However, establishing a link between chronic viral infection and primary CNS malignancy has been an area of considerable controversy, due in part to variations in detection frequencies and methodologies used among researchers. Since a latent viral neurotropism can be seen with a variety of viruses and a widespread seropositivity exists among the population, it has been difficult to establish an association between viral infection and CNS malignancy based on epidemiology alone. While direct evidence of a role of viruses in neuro-oncogenesis in humans is lacking, a more plausible hypothesis of neuro-oncomodulation has been proposed. The overall goals of this review are to summarize the many human investigations that have studied viral infection in primary CNS tumors, discuss potential neuro-oncomodulatory mechanisms of viral-associated CNS disease and propose future research directions to establish a more firm association between chronic viral infections and primary CNS malignancies.
This article was published in J Neuroimmune Pharmacol
and referenced in Journal of Brain Tumors & Neurooncology