[Searching for retroviral sequences related to human breast cancer].
Medicina (B Aires). 1997 ;57 Suppl 2:75-80. PMID: 9567345
Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA.
The participation of viruses in mammary carcinogenesis has been largely studied in animals. A model similar to the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) was previously proposed. Several lines of research supported the participation of MMTV in human breast cancer, but these evidences were contradicted when further research was performed. One major issue was the presence of human endogenous retroviral sequences that confounded results reporting MMTV-like sequences in human breast cancer. To overcome this problem we selected a 660 bp sequence of the MMTV env gene with low homology to endogenous sequences and search for a sequence to it using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The sequence was found in 38% of the human breast cancers and in 2% of the normal breasts studied. The sequence was not present in tumors from other organs. It was 90-98% homologous to MMTV and only 18% to human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) K-10. It was also detected in some of the positive tumors by Southern blot hybridization using one of the cloned 660 bp as a probe. Using reverse transcriptase PCR, it was possible to demonstrate that the 660 bp sequence is expressed in the majority of the tumors. Also, preliminary experiments revealed that sequences related to the LTR and gag genes of MMTV were present in the DNA of breast tumors. The origin of the MMTV-like sequences in tumor DNA could be the result of integrated MMTV-like sequences derived from a human mammary virus or may represent unknown endogenous sequences that can only be detected in breast tumors.