Retrovirus unlinked to diseases

XMRV isn’t to blame

A retrovirus that was linked in the past to prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may not be related to the diseases at all, according to a new study done by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) was first found in samples from a human prostate tumor five years ago, and later was reported to be present in up to one-fourth of human prostate cancers. A 2009 study found XMRV in the blood of 67 percent of individuals with CFS.

Dr. Vinay Pathak of NIH’s National Cancer Institute led the study team in an investigation to determine if XMRV could have originated in the laboratory. They confirmed that the retrovirus was likely incorrectly linked to the diseases due to contamination of lab samples.