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Mosquitoes, Infectious Diseases, and Cancer: A Connection to Study?

Departamento de Microbiologia, Imunologia e Parasitologia, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis 88040-900, SC, Brasil
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, via del Borghetto 80, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4859;
Received: 10 September 2019 / Revised: 15 October 2019 / Accepted: 23 November 2019 / Published: 3 December 2019
Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) are vectors of pathogens and parasites of great medical and veterinary relevance. The possible association between mosquitoes, infectious diseases, and cancer has been investigated. Despite its potential importance, there is a severe lack of research data on the topic. Herein, current knowledge, tenuous links, and related challenges on the topic were examined, grouping information under four major hypotheses. The first hypothesis is that the infection of mosquito-vectored parasites, with special reference to Plasmodium spp., may lead to cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer stated that being infected by Plasmodium falciparum malaria in holoendemic areas is probably carcinogenic to humans (group 2A), considering that P. falciparum infection is able to reactivate the Epstein–Barr virus, leading to endemic Burkitt lymphoma. Also, malaria was recently associated with a cancer incidence increase in the United States. The second hypothesis is that cancer may be spread directly through mosquito bites: Aedes mosquitoes transfer viable tumor cells among vertebrate hosts, even if no plausible mechanisms for these cells to develop cancer into the new host are known. As the third hypothesis, mosquito bites may lead to hypersensitivity, resulting in cancer. Hypersensitivity stimulated by mosquito bites links allergy, oncogenesis, and the Epstein–Barr virus, causing Burkitt lymphoma. One may argue that pathogens transmitted by mosquitoes, such as viruses, may be carcinogenic. However, no detailed research evidences are available to substantiate this last hypothesis. However, despite the intriguing hypotheses outlined above, there is a severe lack of data showing cancer development in organisms exposed to mosquitoes transmitting parasites or pathogens. According to One Health criteria, this benchmark is aimed to outline major questions on this public health issue, stressing the need of multidisciplinary research and discussion. View Full-Text
Keywords: Aedes aegypti; dengue; hypersensitivity; immunosuppression; One Health; Plasmodium parasites; vector-borne diseases Aedes aegypti; dengue; hypersensitivity; immunosuppression; One Health; Plasmodium parasites; vector-borne diseases
MDPI and ACS Style

Brisola Marcondes, C.; Benelli, G. Mosquitoes, Infectious Diseases, and Cancer: A Connection to Study? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4859.

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