Bovine leukemia virus DNA associated with breast cancer in women from South Brazil

Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 27;9(1):2949. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-39834-7.


Breast cancer is a neoplastic condition with a high morbidity and mortality amongst women worldwide. Recent data linking bovine leukemia virus (BLV) with breast cancer has been contested already. Our study investigated the presence of BLV genome in healthy (n = 72) and cancerous (n = 72) paraffin-embedded samples of breast tissues from women in south Brazil. BLV DNA was found most frequently (30.5%) in breast cancer tissue than in healthy breast (13.9%) (Odds ratio = 2.73; confidence interval = 1.18-6.29; p = 0.027). In contrast, antibodies to BLV were found in a very small percentage of healthy blood donors. There was no association between BLV DNA and other tumor prognostic biological markers such as hormonal receptors, HER2 oncoprotein, proliferation index, metastasis in sentinels lymph nodes, and tumor grade and size. Our findings suggest that BLV should be considered a potential predisposing factor to breast cancer in women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Brazil
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast / virology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / virology*
  • DNA, Viral / blood*
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Female
  • Genome, Viral / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Leukemia Virus, Bovine / genetics*
  • Leukemia Virus, Bovine / immunology
  • Leukemia Virus, Bovine / isolation & purification*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • DNA, Viral