Human Mammary Tumor Virus, Human Papilloma Virus, and Epstein-Barr Virus Infection Are Associated With Sporadic Breast Cancer Metastasis

Breast Cancer (Auckl). 2020 Nov 24;14:1178223420976388. doi: 10.1177/1178223420976388. eCollection 2020.


Background: Viral cause of sporadic breast cancer (SBC) has been suggested based on the experimental murine model of mammary tumor caused by mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and human papillomavirus (HPV). While some studies have demonstrated the presence of viral sequences of MMTV, HPV, and EBV in breast cancer cells, others failed. These contradictions may be attributed to the geographical distribution of breast cancer incidence and/or technical variations. In the current study, we aimed to investigate the correlation of MMTV, HPV, and EBV infections with the development of breast cancer in Jordanian patients.

Methods: One hundred SBC tissue samples were subjected to laser capture microdissection for the selection of tumor cells populations. Fluorescence polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to detect the presence of the MMTV env-like sequences. Real-time PCR was used for HPV and EBV detection, and EBV was further confirmed by chromogen in situ hybridization (CISH).

Results: Mouse mammary tumor virus, HPV, and EBV were detected in SBC in 11%, 21%, and 23%, respectively. Only 3 of 52 (5.7%) positive cases demonstrated multiple virus infections. However, 49 of 52 (94%) of the positive cases revealed the presence of 1 type of viral sequences. Consequently, 52% of the studied breast cancer cases were infected with at least 1 type of the aforementioned viruses.

Conclusions: The current cohort suggests that MMTV, HPV, and EBV have a potential role in the development of breast cancer and adding more reasons to proceed with the quest of a possible viral origin of breast cancer.

Keywords: Breast cancer metastasis; EBV; HPV; MMTV.