The purpose of this study was to determine whether infectious herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) has tumorigenic properties and, if so, whether inhibition of the cytolytic replicative cycle of the virus after infection enhances tumour development. Eighty mice were subjected to repeated inoculation of HSV-1 on their upper lips after scarification, and systemic administration of acyclovir (ACV). 12--tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (TPA) was used as the tumour promoter. The tumour incidence was compared to control groups each of 40 mice that were either not treated with ACV, not treated with TPA, not infected with HSV or only scarified. In the virus-infected group treated with ACV and TPA, 25% of the animals developed tumours. In the HSV-infected group treated with TPA only, 25% of the animals also developed tumours. The uninfected animals which were not treated with TPA developed tumours to a significantly lesser degree. In conclusion, the combined effects of HSV-1 and TPA, with or without ACV treatment, resulted in a significant increase in the number of tumours in comparison to the control groups.

Keyword(s): acyclovir , HSV-1 and tumour formation

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