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Chronic infections and inflammatory processes as cancer risk factors: possible role of nitric oxide in carcinogenesis.

Mutation Research

Bacterial Infections, epidemiology, complications, Virus Diseases, Risk Factors, Parasitic Diseases, metabolism, Nitric Oxide, etiology, Neoplasms, Models, Biological, physiopathology, Inflammation, Humans, Helicobacter pylori, chemically induced, Helicobacter Infections, Free Radicals, Chronic Disease

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      Infection by bacteria, parasites or viruses and tissue inflammation such as gastritis, hepatitis and colitis are recognized risk factors for human cancers at various sites. Nitric oxide (NO) and other oxygen radicals produced in infected and inflamed tissues could contribute to the process of carcinogenesis by different mechanisms, which are discussed on the basis of authors' studies on liver fluke infection and cholangiocarcinoma development. A similar mechanism could apply to other suspected and known cancer-causing agents including Helicobacter pylori infection (stomach cancer) or asbestos exposure (lung mesothelioma). Studies on the type of tissue and DNA damage produced by NO and by other reactive oxygen species are shedding new light on the molecular mechanisms by which chronic inflammatory processes may initiate or enhance carcinogenesis in humans.

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