Helminths in human carcinogenesis

Cancer Lett. 2011 Jun 28;305(2):239-49. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2010.07.008. Epub 2010 Jul 27.


This review examines the salient literature on selected helminths involved in carcinogenicity in humans and updates information in an earlier review on cancer and helminths by Mayer and Fried (2007, Advances in Parasitology 65, 239-296). The earlier review was concerned with various helminths, i.e., trematodes, cestodes, and nematodes, that are definitely implicated as being carcinogenic. This review examines only those helminths, all of which turn out to be trematodes, that are definitely implicated as being carcinogenic. These trematodes are the blood flukes Schistosoma haematobium, associated with inducing human carcinoma of the urinary bladder and the liver flukes Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis, associated with inducing cancer of the bile duct (cholangiocarcinoma) and cancer of the liver (hepatocarcinoma) in humans. The review examines mainly the epidemiology and pathology of these helminthic infections in humans and considers what we know about the mechanisms associated with the carcinogenicity of these three trematodes in humans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antinematodal Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Clonorchis sinensis / metabolism
  • Female
  • Helminthiasis / complications*
  • Helminthiasis / parasitology
  • Helminths / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Liver / parasitology
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / parasitology*
  • Opisthorchis / metabolism
  • Risk
  • Schistosoma haematobium / metabolism


  • Antinematodal Agents