Does COVID-19 Curb or Promote the Progression of Cancer?
July 2, 2021
One of the many questions about the long-term implications of COVID-19 is whether there might be some positive or negative consequences on cancer. The inflammatory milieu elicited by infection with SARS-CoV-2 might elicit pro-cancer effects as well as COVID-related immune-deficiency or increase DNA damage through the activity of reactive oxygen species along with the p53 oncosuppressor inactivation by the SARS-CoV-2 NSP3 and NSP2 nonstructural proteins (1). In contrast, infection by SARS-CoV-2 could conceivably yield anti-cancer effects. In fact, some viruses have been used as oncolytic agents by selectively killing cancer cells. In some other cases, stimulation of innate immunity might result in triggering immune responses to cancer cells. Neither possibility is mutually exclusive.