July 23, 2024

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Toxoplasma infection may cause brain cancer

Toxoplasma infection may cause brain cancer

Toxoplasma infection may cause brain cancer.  The latest research found that Toxoplasma infection may increase the risk of brain malignancies. Glioma is a relatively rare but very fatal cancer.

Toxoplasma gondii is an intestinal coccidian of cats. It was discovered in 1908 by French scholars Nicolle and Manceaux in the liver and spleen mononuclear cells of North African comb-toed mice. 

Toxoplasma gondii is widely distributed all over the world and can be infected by humans and many animals. With the increase of cat owners, nearly one-third of the world’s population is infected. The positive infection rate in China is 5%-20%. As high as 30% in some areas.

Toxoplasma gondii has a complex life cycle, including two stages, sexual and asexual. Although this parasite can infect many mammals, it can only complete its life cycle in cats, including domestic cats. That is, in addition to the final host, Toxoplasma can only reproduce asexually in other animals and cannot spread its offspring to the outside world.

Toxoplasma gondii is an important opportunistic protozoan, which can infect and lurking in brain cells to form toxoplasma cysts. Since the 1920s, doctors have begun to realize that if a woman is infected with Toxoplasma gondii during pregnancy, it may cause the baby to get sick, and in some cases, it can also lead to blindness, mental retardation, and even severe brain damage or death.

On January 12, 2021, the International Journal of Cancer published a research paper titled: Toxoplasma gondii infection and the risk of adult glioma in two prospective studies. The study showed that Toxoplasma gondii infection is associated with an increased risk of glioma, a malignant tumor of the brain.

Toxoplasma infection may cause brain cancer


Glioma is a relatively rare but very deadly cancer. It is a deadly cancer. It is the most common type of primary brain tumors. More than 80% of malignant brain tumors are gliomas. It is estimated that its five-year survival rate is only 5%.

In order to determine the association between Toxoplasma gondii infection and glioma, the research team examined two prospective cohorts, namely the Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort (CPSII-NC) of the American Cancer Society (n=37 cases, control) 74 cases, approximately 70 years old), and the Janus Serum Bank (Janus) of the Norwegian Cancer Registry (n=323 cases, 323 controls, approximately 40 years old).

The blood samples collected before diagnosis were analyzed for antibodies against the two Toxoplasma antigens (p22 and sag-1). If any of the antibodies against these two Toxoplasma antigens is detected, it is considered to be Positive for infection.

In both cohorts, the research team observed an increased risk of glioma in patients infected with Toxoplasma gondii, especially in patients with high antibody titers to the sag-1 antigen.

It is reported that this is the first prospective evidence of the link between Toxoplasma gondii infection and the risk of glioma. The results of this study clearly show that people infected with Toxoplasma gondii are more likely to develop gliomas. However, it should be pointed out that the absolute risk of being diagnosed with glioma is still very low, and this study needs to be repeated in a larger and more diverse population.

The author of the paper said that if follow-up studies can confirm the risk factors of Toxoplasma gondii infection in glioma, it will provide a new idea for the prevention of glioma.


(source:internet, reference only)

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