Virus Tied to Leukemia Risk

Newborn babies born with cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection have an increased risk for developing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) later in life—a risk almost four times higher than babies born without CMV, according to a recent bone marrow study. Research also shows that CMV exposure in utero is higher in Hispanics than in other ethnicities.

Studies have shown that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) increase cancer risk, and some research has shown a connection between adenovirus and herpesvirus-6 and cancer, but that association remains controversial.

Study authors note that exposure to CMV before birth—while the immune system is not fully developed—might allow the virus to persist, increasing the risk for ALL. More research is needed to examine the role viral infections may play in certain types of cancer—including this latest discovery.

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