Viruses and Human Cancer

David W. Allen, Philip Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


THE contention that viruses may cause cancer in man rests mainly on analogy with observations in other species, particularly laboratory animals.1, 2 However, even if tumor viruses were known not to cause human cancer they would be a suitable starting place for the study of genetic mechanisms in neoplasia. Oncogenic viruses have from seven to 50 genes, only a few of which are required to confer malignancy on an infected cell. These viruses obviously represent a more promising place to search for oncogenic genes than mammalian cells, which contain two million genes or more.3, 4 Approaches to Cancer Viruses Viruses probably evolved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-82
Number of pages13
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 13 1972
Externally publishedYes


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