Parasite infection and cancer: with special emphasis on Schistosoma japonicum infections (Trematoda). A review

A. Ishii, H. Matsuoka, T. Aji, N. Ohta, S. Arimoto, Y. Wataya, H. Hayatsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This article contains a review of current knowledge on the association of parasite infections and cancer formation, especially that of Schistosoma japonicum (Trematoda) in man and experimental animals. The association of S. haematobium infection and bladder cancer is well known and documented. However, S. japonicum infection has also been reported to be associated with cancer, in this case hepatocellular carcinoma and/or colorectal cancer. Pathological records and analyses have shown a correlation between this infection and cancer, and pathohistological descriptions have been numerous, together with clinical case reports. Epidemiological analyses have been conducted in China and Japan and support a role of S. japonicum infection as one of the risk factors in cancer formation, along with others, such as hepatitis virus infection and alcoholic intake. Experimental results have also shown that cancer appears early and in larger numbers in experimentally infected animals given a known carcinogen. In spite of these positive end-point associations, the mechanism of schistosome-mediated enhancement of carcinogenesis is obscure. A suggestive observation is that in S. japonicum-infected mice carcinogen-metabolizing hepatic activity including P-450 was decreased so that an administered carcinogen persisted for a longer period than in uninfected mice. Further studies, both epidemiological and experimental, are needed to firmly establish the relationship between schistosome infection and cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-281
Number of pages9
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 1994


  • Carcinogenesis
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Hepatoma
  • Parasite
  • Schistosoma japonicum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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