John Libbey Eurotext

Virologie

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Rétrovirus humain XMRV : la fin d’une histoire séduisante ? Volume 15, issue 4, Juillet-Août 2011

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École normale supérieure de Lyon, département de biologie, master biosciences, 46, allée d’Italie, 69007 Lyon, France, Oncogenèse rétrovirale, Inserm U758, 46, allée d’Italie, 69007 Lyon, France, École normale supérieure de Lyon, 46, allée d’Italie, 69007 Lyon, France, IFR 128 biosciences Lyon-Gerland, Lyon, France

Viruses represent an important cause of cancer in humans: infections are estimated to account for close to one cancer case out of five. With the ongoing discovery of new infectious agents, this number should be raising in the near future. In 2006, the discovery of a new γ-retrovirus in prostate cancer biopsies launched an intense research activity: could this new xenotropic MLV-related virus (XMRV) be the cause of prostate cancer? Five years later, the initial enthusiasm of retrovirologists has dramatically diminished. One by one, arguments favouring the hypothesis of human infection with XMRV are being refuted. The aim of this review article is to present the discovery of XMRV and to analyze recent data arguing against its existence in humans. A synthetic interpretation of XMRV literature will then be suggested.