Nigerian Journal of Medicine

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Parasites and cancer: a review of the emergence of protozoan carcinogenesis and novel molecular insights

O.I. Ajetunmobi, K.I. Onyedibe, I Emmanuel


The role of infectious agents in the formation of cancers has been long established. However the bulk of the emphasis has been on oncogenic DNA viruses and to a lesser extent, bacteria. However,amidst parasites, only a few metazoans have been linked to cancer, and with feeble molecular bases. This review explores the role of protozoa in cancer formation and highlights new insights into the process of oncogenesis by previously identified helminths with carcinogenic potential. It expounds on the impact of parasites on aspects of cell growth and function, particularly apoptosis, gene expression and cell proliferation.

Keywords: Protozoa, Cancer, Oncogenesis, Helminths, Apoptosis

AJOL African Journals Online