Mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV)-like DNA sequences in the breast tumors of father, mother, and daughter

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Background. The diagnosis of late onset breast cancer in a father, mother, and daughter living in the same house for decades suggested the possibility of an environmental agent as a common etiological factor. Both molecular and epidemiological data have indicated a possible role for the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV), the etiological agent of breast cancer in mice, in a certain percentage of human breast tumors. The aim of this study was to determine if MMTV might be involved in the breast cancer of this cluster of three family members. Results. MMTV-like envelope (env) and long terminal repeat (LTR) sequences containing the MMTV superantigen gene (sag) were detected in the malignant tissues of all three family members. The amplified env gene sequences were 98.0%-99.6% homologous to the MMTV env sequences found in the GR, C3H, and BR6 mouse strains. The amplified LTR sequences containing sag sequences segregated to specific branches of the MMTV phylogenetic tree and did not form a distinct branch of their own. Conclusion. The presence of MMTV-like DNA sequences in the malignant tissues of all three family members suggests the possibility of MMTV as an etiological agent. Phylogenetic data suggest that the MMTV-like DNA sequences are mouse and not human derived and that the ultimate reservoir of MMTV is most likely the mouse. Although the route by which these family members came to be infected with MMTV is unknown, the possibility exists that such infection may have resulted from a shared exposure to mice. © 2008 Etkind et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Etkind, P. R., Stewart, A. F. R., & Wiernik, P. H. (2008). Mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV)-like DNA sequences in the breast tumors of father, mother, and daughter. Infectious Agents and Cancer, 3(1).

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