Fungal DNA, Cells Found in Human Tumors

Catherine Offord in The Scientist:

Fungal DNA is present in various types of cancer, according to two studies published yesterday (September 29) in Cell. The findings add support to a hypothesized link between fungi and certain cancers, although researchers emphasize that there isn’t yet evidence for a causal connection.

The studies provide “pretty compelling evidence there may be rare fungi within tumors,” Stanford University’s Ami Bhatt, who was not involved in either study, tells STAT. She adds that the work also raises various questions about the detected fungi: “Are they alive or not? And assuming they really are there, then why are they there? And how did they get there?” Both studies examined tissues from multiple types of human cancers throughout the body. One group, led by researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), reports detecting fungal DNA or cells—typically at low abundance—in 35 different cancer types, with fungal species composition differing among them.

More here.