Cancer and mosquitoes – An unsuspected close connection

Authors: Audrey Arnal, Benjamin Roche, Louis-Clément Gouagna, Antoine Dujon, Beata Ujvari, et al.

Source: Science of The Total Environment (JUN 2020)

Graphical abstract:

Brief summary of the paper:

Cancer is a major public health issue and represents a significant burden in countries with different levels of economic wealth. In parallel, mosquito-borne infectious diseases represent a growing problem causing significant morbidity and mortality worldwide.

Acknowledging that these two concerns are both globally distributed, it is essential to investigate whether they have a reciprocal connection that can fuel their respective burdens. Unfortunately, very few studies have examined the link between these two threats.

This review provides an overview of the possible links between mosquitoes, mosquito-borne infectious diseases and cancer.

We first focus on the impact of mosquitoes on carcinogenesis in humans including the transmission of oncogenic pathogens through mosquitoes, the immune reactions following mosquito bites, the presence of non-oncogenic mosquito-borne pathogens, and the direct transmission of cancer cells.

The second part of this review deals with the direct or indirect consequences of cancer in humans on mosquito behaviour.

Thirdly, we discuss the potential impacts that natural cancers in mosquitoes can have on their life history traits and therefore on their vector capacity. Finally, we discuss the most promising research avenues on this topic and the integrative public health strategies that could be envisioned in this context.