Analysis of the presence of cutaneous and mucosal papillomavirus types in ductal lavage fluid, milk and colostrum to evaluate its role in breast carcinogenesis

Massimiliano Cazzaniga, Tarik Gheit, Chiara Casadio, Noureen Khan, Debora MacIs, Francesco Valenti, Mara Jo Miller, Bakary S. Sylla, Suminori Akiba, Bernardo Bonanni, Andrea Decensi, Umberto Veronesi, Massimo Tommasino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Several independent studies have presented evidence for the involvement of human papillomaviruses (HPV) in the aetiology of human breast cancer, while others have reported the opposite findings. Here, we have analysed by a high sensitive multiplex PCR-based method the prevalence of alpha mucosal and beta cutaneous HPV DNA in 90 ductal lavages, colostrum and milk. Ten of the 70 DLs analyzed (14%) contained a single or multiple beta HPV types, while DNA from mucosal high-risk HPV types was detected in only one sample (1/70). A strong reduction of HPV positivity in DL fluids was observed in 45 specimens collected after removal of the superficial layers of the nipple epidermis. All DLs were negative for the mucosal low-risk HPV types 6 and 11. Finally, HPV positivity was low in colostrum and milk. Our data show that DNA of alpha mucosa and beta cutaneous HPV types are rarely present in the breast fluids and suggest that a direct role of HPV in breast carcinogenesis is unlikely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-605
Number of pages7
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009



  • Breast cancer
  • Breast fluids
  • Ductal lavage
  • HPV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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