ZME Science reports on a Nature article (full article is paywalled) (DOI: 10.1038/nature18599) about a disease called disseminated neoplasia. The disease is a group of cancers which are thought to spread via seawater. They affect mussels, cockles, and golden carpet shell clams.
Among mussels and cockles, the cancer cells come from the same species, but the cancer infecting golden carpet shell clams comes from a different species, Venerupis corrugata , the pullet carpet shell.
Contagious cancer, including one that was cross-species, has been observed in humans too:
- a surgeon caught cancer (malignant fibrous histiocytoma) from a patient- Kaposi's sarcoma appeared in recipients of transplants- a man who had a weakened immune system developed a tumour composed of cells from a tapeworm