Research Sections

Section of Infections

Chronic infections altogether account for nearly 20% of cancer cases worldwide, with low- and intermediate-resource countries hardest hit. Research on human papillomavirus (HPV), human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis viruses, Helicobacter species and herpes viruses and various related cancers is the priority of the Section of Infections, which carries out studies on these infectious agents in different cancer sites in large-scale epidemiological and smaller-scale biological studies. These biological studies complement, in terms of mechanisms involved, the overwhelming epidemiological evidence on the role of certain viruses in the etiology of cancer.

As persistent infection with viruses, bacteria or parasites is a predominant cause of human cancer, the identification of the features of cancers with viral origin is a vital part of the Agency's mission of cancer prevention through measures such as vaccination.

The section comprises the Infections and Cancer Epidemiology (ICE) and Infections and Cancer Biology (ICB) Groups, the focus of which is specifically on the link between infections and cancer. Main research projects are the characterisation of events linked to the progression of HPV infection to invasive cancer; HPV in cervical cancer and in other cancers; cancer excess in people with HIV and other immunosuppressed populations; HBV and HCV associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver cancer; and Helicobacter species and gastric cancer, cancer of the biliary tract and gallbladder.

This Section receives funding from several respected foundations and institutes, both national and international, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA, the Institut National du Cancer (INCa), France, the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR), the Fondation Innovations en Infectiologie (FINOVI), the Ligue nationale contre le Cancer, France, and the European Commission.