Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a beta-herpesvirus that causes persistent infection in humans and can cause severe disease in fetuses and immunocompromised individuals. Although HCMV is not currently causally implicated in human cancer, emerging evidence suggests that HCMV infection and expression may be specifically associated with human malignancies including malignant glioma, colon, and prostate cancer. In addition, multiple investigators have demonstrated that HCMV can dysregulate signaling pathways involved in initiation and promotion of malignancy, including tumor suppressor, mitogenic signaling, inflammatory, immune regulation, angiogenesis and invasion, and epigenetic mechanisms. This review highlights some of the recent evidence that HCMV might play a role in modulating the tumor microenvironment as well as in the initiation and promotion of tumor cells themselves.
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