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Acta Parasitologica

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Volume 58, Issue 4


Associations between Demodex species infestation and various types of cancer

Özlem Sönmez / Zeliha Yalçın / Engin Karakeçe / İhsan Çiftci / Teoman Erdem
Published Online: 2013-12-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11686-013-0178-y


Tumor-associated immune system cells secrete protease and cytokines that can inhibit the immune response. In particular, T-cell effector functions could be inhibited, potentially causing an increase in parasitic infestations. Demodex species are common inhabitants of normal hair follicles. Humans are the specific host for two species Demodex folliculorum and D. brevis. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence and infestation of D. folliculorum and D. brevis in patients with cancer. In the present study, 101 patients with cancer were selected from among patients who were diagnosed and treated for cancer. The cancer patients were divided into four groups according to cancer type. Slides were examined for parasites using light microscopy at magnifications of ×40 and ×100. Infestation was defined as having at least five living parasites/cm2 of skin. The ages of the patients with cancer ranged between 38 and 82 years, with a mean of 65.5±10.1 years. It was determined that 77 of the 101 (76.2%) cancer patients were positive for Demodex species. Infestation was positive in 18 (47.4%) of the 38 cases in the breast cancer group, 7 (29.2%) of the 24 cases in the lung cancer group, 5 (18.5%) of the 27 cases in the gastrointestinal system cancer group, and 2 (16.7%) of the 12 cases in the urogenital system cancer group. Results showed that the rate of Demodex species infestation was higher in patients with breast cancer. Thus, cancer — and particularly breast cancer — is a risk factor for Demodex species infestation.

Keywords: Cancer; risk factor; Demodex; infestation

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-12-13

Published in Print: 2013-12-01

Citation Information: Acta Parasitologica, Volume 58, Issue 4, Pages 551–555, ISSN (Online) 1896-1851, ISSN (Print) 1230-2821, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11686-013-0178-y.

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© 2013 W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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