Absence of Epstein-Barr virus in medullary carcinoma of the breast as demonstrated by immunophenotyping, in situ hybridization and polymerase chain reaction

Am J Clin Pathol. 1995 Apr;103(4):449-52. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/103.4.449.


Medullary carcinoma of the breast is an epithelial malignant proliferation that shares many characteristics (macroscopic, microscopic, epidemiologic, and prognostic) with lymphoepithelioma-like carcinomas of various sites. The authors hypothesized that they could also share the same etiologic agent, the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Epstein-Barr virus, a virus of the herpesvirus family, is to be associated with lymphoepithelioma-like carcinomas of the nasopharynx, stomach, lung, thymus, and salivary gland. Therefore, the authors looked for the virus in a series of 10 medullary carcinomas of the breast. Using immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization and polymerase chain reaction, this investigation failed to show evidence of EBV. Similar negative results have been reported in lymphoepithelioma-like carcinomas arising in the skin and in the uterine cervix, which like the breast do not originate in the foregut. These results suggest that the pathogenesis of these tumors is not unique, implicating probably different etiopathogenic entities.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Breast Neoplasms / virology*
  • Carcinoma, Medullary / virology*
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Molecular Probes / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Molecular Probes