Incidences of infection-related cancers are on the rise in developing countries where the prevalence of intestinal nematode worm infections are also high. Trichuris muris (T. muris) is a murine gut-dwelling nematode that is the direct model for human T. trichiura, one of the major soil-transmitted helminth infections of humans. In order to assess whether chronic infection with T. muris does indeed influence the development of cancer hallmarks, both wild type mice and colon cancer model (APC min/+) mice were infected with this parasite. Parasite infection in wild type mice led to the development of neoplastic change similar to that seen in mice that had been treated with the carcinogen azoxymethane. Additionally, both chronic and acute infection in the APCmin/+mice led to an enhanced tumour development that was distinct to the site of infection suggesting systemic control. By blocking the parasite specific T regulatory response in these mice, the increase in the number of tumours following infection was abrogated. Thus T. muris infection alone causes an increase in gut pathologies that are known to be markers of cancer but also increases the incidence of tumour formation in a colon cancer model. The influence of parasitic worm infection on the development of cancer may therefore be significant.
Hayes, K. S., Cliffe, L. J., Bancroft, A. J., Forman, S. P., Thompson, S., Booth, C., & Grencis, R. K. (2017). Chronic Trichuris muris infection causes neoplastic change in the intestine and exacerbates tumour formation in APC min/+ mice. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 11(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0005708