Human tumour viruses help unlock the secrets of cancer development

Human tumour viruses and the deregulation of cell polarity in cancer

The development of cancer is a multi-step process. Understanding the steps in this has been aided greatly by studies on human tumour viruses. In a recent article in Nature Reviews Cancer, Lawrence Banks and colleagues in the ICGEB Tumour Virology Laboratory explore the common theme of cell polarity disruption during virus-induced tumourigenesis. 

The role of cell polarity regulators in the development of cancer has long been an enigma. Despite displaying characteristics of tumour suppressors, the core regulators of polarity are rarely mutated in tumours and there are few data from animal models to suggest that they directly contribute to cancer susceptibility, thus questioning their relevance to human carcinogenesis. However, a body of data from human tumour viruses is now providing compelling evidence of a central role for the perturbation of cell polarity in the development of cancer.

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Published online 23 November 2012
Nature Reviews Cancer 12877-886 (December 2012) | doi:10.1038/nrc3400

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