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Pathol Oncol Res. 2011 Sep;17(3):489-92. doi: 10.1007/s12253-010-9325-z. Epub 2011 Jan 6.

Epstein-Barr virus and breast cancer: lack of evidence for an association in Iranian women.

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Department of Pathology, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Hazrat Rasool-e-Akram Hospital, Tehran, Iran.


Controversies regarding the role of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in breast cancer and lack of published literature in this regard in Iran, prompted us to assess EBV presence in 100 breast carcinoma and 42 control biopsies obtained from Iranian women. Breast carcinoma cases were comprised of 81 invasive ductal carcinoma NOS, 9 invasive lobular carcinoma, 1 apocrine carcinoma, 2 cribriform carcinoma, 2 papillary carcinoma and 5 mucinous carcinoma. Control biopsies consisted of 13 fibroadenoma, 9 benign epithelial proliferation (adenosis and sclerosing adenosis), 9 usual ductal hyperplasia, 4 atypical ductal hyperplasia, 4 non-proliferative fibrocystic changes and 3 normal breast tissue. To identify EBV-infected cells we applied immunohistochemical analysis, using monoclonal antibody against Epstein-Barr virus-encoded nuclear antigen 2 (EBNA-2) and latent membrane protein 1 (LMP-1). Further, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to amplify EBV DNA, with primers that cover the EBV encoded RNA (EBER) and BamHIW regions. EBNA-2 and LMP-1 immunohistochemistry were negative in all breast cancer and control specimens. Using PCR, none of the 100 breast cancer samples or the 42 control specimens showed detectable EBV DNA. These results indicate that EBV may not play a significant role in the etiology of breast cancer in Iranian women.

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