Is prostate cancer caused by a virus?

It’s too early to say for certain, but researchers say they’ve found a link between prostate tumors and a virus that’s already known to cause certain other cancers in animals.

The link was reported recently by scientists at Columbia University and the University of Utah.

In their research, the scientists compared more than 200 human prostate cancers to more than 100 non-cancerous prostate-tissue samples. They found that 27 percent of the cancers contained the virus known as XMRV. The virus was found in only 6 percent of the benign tissues.

XMRV has been studied for some time for its potential role in causing cancer.

There’s no evidence yet that XMRV causes prostate cancer. But should such a relationship emerge, says the Washington Post, “the discovery might lead to new ways to diagnose, treat or even prevent the disease, which affects nearly 200,000 men each year in the U.S.”

Prostate cancer is especially deadly in African American men.

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