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HCV nonstructural protein 4 is associated with aggressiveness features of breast cancer

Abstract

Background

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has the lymphotropic feature that is supposed to be the reason of related extrahepatic manifestation. HCV viral oncoproteins may participate in the regulation of some gene expression that has been implicated in tumorigenesis. Our aim is to evaluate the HCV-NS4 circulating levels in breast cancer (BC) and to investigate its relation with BC tumor aggressiveness.

Methods

This study was performed among 158 Egyptian women (120 with BC and 38 with benign breast diseases). ELISA was used for detection of anti-HCV antibodies, HCV-NS4, fibronectin, and CA 15-3.

Results

No association between HCV detection in this group of BC patients (27.5% in BC vs. 23.7% in breast benign diseases, P = 0.687). Among HCV-infected patients, the mean HCV-NS4 serum level in BC was significantly higher than benign group (61.7 μg/mL vs. 33.9 μg/mL, P = 0.0005). Fibronectin levels were higher (P = 0.014) in patients infected with HCV than noninfected BC patients. Elevated HCV-NS4 levels were associated with tumor severity features like large size, late stages, high grades, and infiltrated lymph nodes. The elevated levels of HCV-NS4 (> 40 μg/mL) yielded an estimated odds ratio (95% confidence intervals) of 2.5 (0.98–6.36), 1.2 (0.44–3.33), 1.9 (0.53–7.00), and 2.5 (0.87–7.33) for developing large size, late stages, high grades, and infiltrated lymph nodes, respectively. Interestingly, HCV-NS4 levels significantly correlated with other BC tumor marker like CA15-3 (r = 0.535; P = 0.0009) and fibronectin (r = 0.432; P < 0.0001).

Conclusions

HCV-NS4 appears to be associated with BC progression features. Oncologists treating such BC patients should consider HCV screening to enable the early identification and to prevent progression of the disease.

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Correspondence to Abdelfattah M. Attallah.

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Attallah, A.M., El-Far, M., Abdelrazek, M.A. et al. HCV nonstructural protein 4 is associated with aggressiveness features of breast cancer. Breast Cancer 25, 297–302 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12282-017-0829-1

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Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Viral proteins
  • HCV-NS4
  • Extrahepatic malignancies