Emerging evidence for infectious causes of cancer in the united states

Heidi E. Brown, Leslie K. Dennis, Priscilla Lauro, Purva Jain, Erin Pelley, Eyal Oren

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Worldwide, infectious agents currently contribute to an estimated 15% of new cancer cases. Most of these (92%, or 2 million new cancer cases) are attributable to 4 infectious agents: Helicobacter pylori, human papillomavirus, and hepatitis B and C viruses. A better understanding of how infectious agents relate to the US cancer burden may assist new diagnostic and treatment efforts. We review US-specific crude mortality rates from infection-Associated cancers and describe temporal and spatial trends since 1999. We review the US-specific evidence for infection-cancer associations by reporting available estimates for attributable fractions for the infection-cancer associations. Death due to cancers with established infectious associations varies geographically, but estimates for the US attributable fraction are limited to a few observational studies. To describe the burden of infection-Associated cancer in the United States, additional observational studies are necessary to estimate the prevalence of infection nationally and within subpopulations. As infectious associations emerge to explain cancer etiologies, new opportunities and challenges to reducing the burden arise. Improved estimates for the United States would help target interventions to higher-risk subpopulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-96
Number of pages15
JournalEpidemiologic reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Communicable diseases
  • Emerging
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Neoplasms
  • Papillomavirus infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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