The cells of tumours induced by many oncogenic DNA viruses, or cells transformed in vitro, contain virus-specific T and transplantation antigens; these have been described for SV40 virus, polyoma virus and adenoviruses. The investigation of viruses as causes of malignant disease in man has sought to establish whether tumour cells possess these virus-specific proteins; however, to date and with the limitations of present techniques, this enquiry has not demonstrated the above viruses as causal of human cancer. More recent studies with herpesvirus type 2 (HSV-2) have shown this virus to transform animal and human cells in culture, and induce cancer in experimental animals: for these reasons, many researchers have suggested that this agent may be an agent of some forms of cancer, in particular carcinoma of the cervix. The possible association of HSV-2 with human malignant disease is discussed.
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