Viruses have been implicated in cancer development in both humans and animals. The role of viruses in cancer is typically to initiate cellular transformation through cellular DNA damage, although specific mechanisms remain unknown. Silent and long-term viral infections need to be present, in order to initiate cancer disease. In efforts to establish a causative role of viruses, first is needed to demonstrate the strength and consistency of associations in different populations. The aim of this study was to determine the association of bovine leukemia virus (BLV), a causative agent of leukemia in cattle, with breast cancer and its biomarkers used as prognosis of the severity of the disease (Ki67, HER2, hormonal receptors) in Colombian women. An unmatched, observational case-control study was conducted among women undergoing breast surgery between 2016-2018. Malignant samples (n = 75) were considered as cases and benign samples (n = 83) as controls. Nested-liquid PCR, in-situ PCR and immunohistochemistry were used for viral detection in blood and breast tissues. For the risk assessment, only BLV positive samples from breast tissues were included in the analysis. BLV was higher in cases group (61.3%) compared with controls (48.2%), with a statistically significant association between the virus and breast cancer in the unconditional logistic regression (adjusted-OR = 2.450,95%CI:1.088-5.517, p = 0.031). In this study, BLV was found in both blood and breast tissues of participants and an association between breast cancer and the virus was confirmed in Colombia, as an intermediate risk factor.
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