Cleveland, Ohio
Silverman's rather magnificent article on XMRV in prostate cancer puts forward some possible mechanisms for causing cancer. http://www.nature.com/nrurol/journal/v7/n7/full/nrurol.2010.77.html
"XMRV does not possess direct transforming activity, at least not as measured by focus formation in fibroblast and epithelial cell lines.59 However, XMRV did rarely induce transformation of a rat fibroblast line, which suggests an indirect mode of action. In one instance, an XMRV-transformed focus even produced virus with a high level of transforming activity, suggesting a recombination event possibly involving acquisition of a host oncogene. Another two transformation events might have been the result of insertional activation of cellular oncogenes. Presumably, in order for XMRV to contribute to prostate cancer by this mechanism, active viral replication would be necessary with multiple integration events, until an integration occurred in a cellular oncogene"​

Basically he's putting forth some of the possible ways XMRV could be cause cancer in the prostate even though it can't directly turn on the cellular genes that cause the cell to turn cancerous: E.G. active viral replication causes the virus to insert (integrate it's RNA) into different sites on the host cell cancer gene (oncogene)-- meaning it isn''t built to directly upregulate or the oncogene but could do so as a result of screwing things up cumulatively so to speak. He also mentions chronic inflammation "microenvironment" in local cells or adjacent cells.

Worth wading through in moments when my fog lifts.


Senior Member
This poster is a bit confusing.

It looks like the list of patients with various cancers were found to be XMRV+ but the treatment data only pertains to one patient, Dr. Snyderman?
If anyone knows for sure, please clarify. I'm also not quite sure why they were measuring prostate-specific antigen; I understand about XMRV being linked to prostatic tissue but Dr. S. has CLL and not prostate cancer?

Re: how antivirals help with cancer. At least with HIV, one idea is that HIV causes immunosuppression and that the immunosuppression causes cancer. That is, there are mutating/ potentially cancerous cells in our bodies regularly but the immune system takes care of them by getting rid of them; a suppressed immune system would not be able to do this job well, resulting in increased incidence of cancer. With the advent of HAART, HIV-related cancer rates have decreased a lot.


Senior Member
Maybe XMRV causes cancer indirectly by skewing the immune system in a way that makes it less effective at fighting cancers. And on ARVs this is corrected and the cancers are reduced?