An Antigen in Human Breast Cancer Sera related to the Murine Mammary Tumour Virus

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Abstract

THE possibility of an oncogenic virus in human breast cancer has been increased by recent findings. Virus-like particles resembling the mammary tumour virus (MTV) were found in electron micrographs of human breast cancer tissue1, and particles physically and morphologically similar to MTV particles have been seen in human milk2. These particles were found more frequently in the milk of American women with a history of breast cancer in their immediate families and in the milk of Parsi women in Bombay than in the milk of nonselected American women3. Parsi women are three times more likely to have breast cancer than other women in Bombay3. The detection of RNA-dependent DNA-polymer-ase activity in such particles isolated from human milk emphasized the possibility that these particles represent an oncogenic RNA virus4. In addition to the physical and morphological resemblance of human milk particles and MTV an immunological relationship between these two kinds of particles seems probable; sera from breast cancer patients neutralize the biological activity of MTV whereas normal human sera did not do so5. We report data supporting the hypothesis of an immunological cross relationship between MTV and human breast cancer.

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MÜLLER, M., GROSSMANN, H. An Antigen in Human Breast Cancer Sera related to the Murine Mammary Tumour Virus. Nature New Biology 237, 116–117 (1972) doi:10.1038/newbio237116a0

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