Researchers have found that hepatitis B and C viruses are one of the causes of multiple myeloma

Researchers from the H120-CNIO Hematology Tumor Clinical Research Unit found that Hepatitis B and C viruses are one of the causes of multiple myeloma.and that eliminating the infection with antiviral drugs is the way to combat many cases of this type of cancer.

A few years ago, the cure of a patient with multiple myeloma after treatment for hepatitis C surprised researchers from the group of Joaquín Martínez of the Clinical Research Unit of Hematological Tumors H12O-CNIO, created as a collaboration between the Hospital 12 de Octobre (H12O) and the National Cancer Research Center (CNIO).

Now the opening of the CNIO group and the hospital on October 12, made in collaboration with Sylvie Hermouet from the University of Nantes (France), deserves recognition.recent editorial in the journal Haematologica‘. “Recognizing the association between viral hepatitis and multiple myeloma, as well as with the pathologies known to precede the onset of myeloma, the monoclonal gammopathies, has important clinical implications,” the journal notes.

“Early detection hepatitis B or C viral infection in these individuals may lead to appropriate antiviral treatment and subsequent improved outcomes,” the publication adds.

Not known yet what causes multiple myelomaand although it has long been suspected that it is related to infectious pathogens, the connection has never been proven and the cause has never been understood.

Researchers Maria Linares and Alba Rodríguez-García from the Clinical Unit of Hematological Cancer H12O-CNIO and the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) decided to study the treatment of patients with hepatitis. To do this, they resorted to a theory that explains the cause of multiple myeloma by chronic exposure to an infectious agent on the body.

Excess antibodies can be treated with antiviral drugs

Multiple myeloma (MM) is characterized by excessive proliferation blood cells which generate antibodies (also called immunoglobulins), proteins that protect the body from infections. In myeloma, the defining antibody – different in each case, depending on the infectious agent – is produced constantly and in excess. One theory suggests that this anomaly The cause is chronic exposure to an infectious agent.which alters the biochemical signals involved in the production of specific antibodies against this agent.

The cure of a patient with myeloma and hepatitis C after treatment for this infectious disease appears to support this theory. Linares and Rodriguez-Garcia suggested that the body is no longer chronically exposed to the hepatitis virus becausean antiviral drug eliminated thisand that is why the myeloma disappeared – the cells that produce antibodies against hepatitis C stopped multiplying excessively.

To find out whether this actually happened, two studies were conducted that included 54 patients with monoclonal gammopathy (a pathology that precedes multiple myeloma) and hepatitis: 9 patients with hepatitis C in the first study and 45 patients with hepatitis B in the study , published in the journal Haematologica. Most of them discovered that the antibodies they were constantly and excessively producing were indeed against the hepatitis virus.

They then moved on to analyze a much larger cohort of multiple myeloma patients (more than 1,300) infected with hepatitis B and hepatitis C (more than 1,200). In both cohorts, they concluded that in those who received antiviral treatment, ” the likelihood of survival was significantly higher“.

New opportunities for early detection and treatment

The authors, who also publish their findings in the journal Haematologica, claim that “in patients infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus, These viruses can cause multiple myeloma or gammopathy. and the study demonstrates the importance of antiviral treatment in these patients.”

The journal’s editorial concluded: “The relationship between viral hepatitis and the development of multiple myeloma and other monoclonal gammopathies has become an important area of ​​research. Chronic hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus infections contribute to the pathogenesis of these hematologic malignancies, justifying increased awareness, detection, and treatment strategies.

He adds that in patients with gammopathies caused by these hepatitis, which may detected after antibody analysis which are produced in excess – “antiviral therapy should be prescribed as soon as possible.

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