(HealthDay News) – Contrary to numerous reports, oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) types are rarely present in mammary epithelium of patients with breast cancer, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of Cancer.

Kimberly Baltzell, PhD, from the University of California at San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed malignant-tissue specimens from 70 breast cancer patients using in situ hybridization (ISH), with probes that were specific for the capsid region of 12 oncogenic HPV types, and in situ polymerase chain reaction (IS-PCR), with primers that were specific for the capsid region of HPV-16.

The researchers found that, using ISH, HPV was observed in four of 70 specimens (5.7%); using IS-PCR, HPV was observed in two of 70 specimens (2.9%). For negative specimens, there was high concordance between the two methods (94.3% for both). However, no concordance was seen between the tests for the positive specimens.

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“Oncogenic (high-risk) HPV types were present in malignant breast epithelium very infrequently and, thus, may be causative agents of only a relatively small proportion of all breast cancers,” the authors write.

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