The role of infectious agents in cancer of the ocular region

Josephine Raun Henriksen, Ingvild Ramberg, Lauge Hjorth Mikkelsen, Steffen Heegaard

3 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of the study was to investigate the association between infectious agents and the development of cancer in the ocular adnexa. A comprehensive literary study was carried out, reviewing and summarizing previous reports on the topic. A broad range of malignancies of the ocular adnexa are associated with infectious agents. A strong association and possible causal relationship between the infectious agent and the development of ocular adnexal cancer are seen in Merkel cell carcinoma (Merkel cell polyomavirus), Burkitt lymphoma (Epstein-Barr virus) and Kaposi sarcoma (human herpesvirus 8). Infection with Chlamydia psittaci has been associated with the development of extranodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma in Italy. Human papillomavirus infection has been associated with the development of squamous cell carcinomas of the ocular adnexa, although with a highly variable reported prevalence. By exploring the role of infectious agents in the ocular adnexa and the mechanism by which they contribute to oncogenesis, the diagnostics, management and prevention of these malignancies may also improve. Antibiotic treatment and vaccines against infectious agents may be valuable in future treatment. Additionally, the presence of infectious agents within the tumours may have a prognostic or predictive value.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAPMIS - Journal of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)136-149
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/drug therapy
  • Communicable Diseases/complications
  • Eye Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • infection
  • human papillomavirus
  • epstein–barr virus
  • Merkel cell polyomavirus
  • Ocular adnexa
  • human herpes virus 8


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