A study from Paris shows that 50% of breast cancers studied contained evidence of infection with the Epstein-Barr virus. The virus was not found in the surrounding normal breast tissue.

Ever since a virus was first found in animal cancers at the turn of the last century, doctors have searched for an infection to cause cancer. Helicobacter is associated with stomach cancers, Epstein Bar virus with lymphomas, warts with cervical cancer and squamous cancer of the skin, Human T cell leukemia-1 with some leukemias and so forth. Doctors have long suspected that breast cancer may also be caused by as virus, but until recently, none was found.

Now, scientists at the Genet Institute in Paris report that they have found the Epstein-Barr virus in breast cancer cells. If this virus is indeed a cause of breast cancer, doctors still have to explain the association of breast cancer with a high fat diet, partially hydrogenated fats and genetics. All may be co-factors to cause this disease. Since one in 7 women can expect to suffer breast cancer by age 90, this research is extremely important to everyone.

1)M Bonnet, JM Guinebretiere, E Kremmer, V Grunewald, E Benhamou, G Contesso, I Joab.Address Joab I, IFR St Louis, Inst Genet Mol Pharmacol Expt & Clin, 27 Rue Juliette Dodu, F-75010 Paris, FRANCE. Title Detection of Epstein-Barr virus in invasive breast cancers.Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 1999, Vol 91, Iss 16, pp 1376-1381.

2) accompanying editorial: I Magrath, K Bhatia. Editorial: Breast cancer: a new Epstein-Barr virus-associated disease? Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 1999, Vol 91, Iss 16, pp 1349-1350.

Reported 9/14/99; checked 9/3/05

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