669. Bovine leukemia virus is strongly associated with breast cancer in Australian women
Session: Poster Abstract Session: Oh, Those Pesky Viruses!
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Room: Poster Hall
Background: While risk factors such as age, reproductive history, diet and exercise account for ~90% of sporadic breast cancer cases, an initiating agent preceding the 20-30 year cancerous transition of mammary epithelium has yet to be identified. The oncogenic deltaretrovirus bovine leukemia virus (BLV) has been found in 100% of large-scale dairy herds in the US, and is known to cause clinical leukosis in <5% of infected cattle, as well as infect bovine mammary epithelial cells.

Methods: Previously, our lab demonstrated a strong association between in situ PCR-confirmed BLV-related DNA and pathologist-confirmed breast cancer, using 239 paraffin-embedded tissue samples from the Cooperative Human Tissue Network in the USA. Using a similar in situ PCR method with tissue samples from 105 cases from Australia, we found a similarly strong association between breast cancer and BLV.

Results: In this independent sample from Australia, a country with high female breast cancer incidence, we found strong evidence of association between bovine leukemia virus and female breast cancer (unadjusted odds ratio = 5.68 (95% CI 2.11 – 15.75, p = 0.0001; age-adjusted odds ratio = 4.72, 95% CI 1.71 – 13.05, p = 0.003).

Conclusion: These preliminary results bolster the argument for BLV as a potential cancer-causing agent.

Gertrude Buehring, PhD1, Hua Min Shen, MD1, Daniel Schwartz, BA MA2 and James Lawson, AM, MD3, (1)School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, (2)UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, Berkeley, CA, (3)School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Science, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Australia


G. Buehring, None

H. M. Shen, None

D. Schwartz, None

J. Lawson, None

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