• SARS-CoV-2 in patients with cancer: possible role of mimicry of human molecules by viral proteins and the resulting anti-cancer immunity

      Burgio, Stefano; Conway de Macario, Everly; Macario, Alberto Jl; Cappello, Francesco (Springer Nature, 2021-05-11)
      A few reports suggest that molecular mimicry can have a role in determining the more severe and deadly forms of COVID-19, inducing endothelial damage, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and multiorgan failure. Heat shock proteins/molecular chaperones can be involved in these molecular mimicry phenomena. However, tumor cells can display on their surface heat shock proteins/molecular chaperones that are mimicked by SARS-CoV-2 molecules (including the Spike protein), similarly to what happens in other bacterial or viral infections. Since molecular mimicry between SARS-CoV-2 and tumoral proteins can elicit an immune reaction in which antibodies or cytotoxic cells produced against the virus cross-react with the tumor cells, we want to prompt clinical studies to evaluate the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on prognosis and follow up of various forms of tumors. These topics, including a brief historical overview, are discussed in this paper.