Medical Oncology

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 48–55 | Cite as

The role of human papillomavirus infection in breast cancer

  • Ting Wang
  • Peng Chang
  • Ling WangEmail author
  • Qing Yao
  • Wen Guo
  • Jianghao ChenEmail author
  • Tristan Yan
  • Christopher Cao
Review Article


Breast cancer is the leading female cancer and the third most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Many studies have suggested a possible link between breast cancer pathogenesis and viral infection, particularly mouse mammary tumour virus, simian virus 40, Epstein–Barr virus, and human papillomavirus (HPV). A significant number of recent studies have reported that approximately 29% of human breast cancer tissues were positive for high-risk HPV subtypes, especially HPV subtypes 16, 18, or 33. In contrast, several other investigations did not detect any HPV subtypes in either breast cancer tissue or normal breast tissue from patients diagnosed with breast cancer. Given these conflicting data and the established complexity of the association between HPV with other cancers, a definitive relationship between human breast cancer and HPV infection has not been determined. Recent advances in laboratory methodologies aim to overcome the inherent challenges in detecting HPV in breast cancer tissue. There is an urgent need to obtain additional evidence in order to assess the possibility of breast cancer prevention using HPV vaccines.


Human papillomavirus Breast cancer 



This research is funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 30872514 and 30600597).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 42 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (DOC 54 kb)
12032_2010_9812_MOESM3_ESM.doc (32 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOC 32 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ting Wang
    • 1
  • Peng Chang
    • 1
  • Ling Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Qing Yao
    • 1
  • Wen Guo
    • 1
  • Jianghao Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tristan Yan
    • 2
  • Christopher Cao
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Vascular and Endocrine Surgery, Xijing HospitalFourth Military Medical UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Department of Cardiothoracic SurgeryThe Baird Institute for Applied Heart and Lung Surgical Research and The Royal Prince Alfred HospitalSydneyAustralia

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