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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 285-292

Does epstein–barr virus participate in the development of breast cancer? A brief and critical review with molecular evidences

Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Yasir Hameed
Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bbrj.bbrj_101_20

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The oncogenic potential of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) has been well studied in human breast cancer (BC) so far but still controversies surround its role. In the present study, we aimed to perform a comprehensive and critical review of the results and methodologies used by the previous studies to identify the association between EBV markers with human breast. We also proposed a criterion based on the Bradford hill postulates of causation and EBV prevalence to evaluate the results of previous studies for proving EBV etiological role in breast cancer. A PubMed search engine-based strategy was implemented to retrieve all the relevant studies. In total, 50 original studies were retrieved. Out of which 20 were case–control studies while others were not. The positivity ratios of EBV detection in breast cancer samples varied study wise. Few studies did not identify the EBV markers in breast cancer while others identified it with different detection positivity ratios varying from 2.9% to 75.8%. Similarly, the EBV detection positivity ratios in normal and benign samples also varied between 0%–35% and 0%–75.8%, respectively. In total, 18 out of 20 case–control studies, the positivity ratios of EBV detection were higher or equal in breast samples as compared to controls, while two case–control studies also report the opposite results. However, the odds ratios and confidence intervals were not reported. The results failed to prove EBV as a potential biomarker of breast cancer but rather suggested its role as a cause-effect or at least co-participant.

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