Background: Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a retrovirus that causes adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL), an aggressive form of T-cell malignancy. The relationship between HTLV-1 infection and cancer progression is controversial. HTLV-1 encodes oncogenic protein TAX1 and it is hypothesized that HTLV-1 infection is associated with breast cancer progression. In this study, we evaluated the relationship between HTLV-1 infection and clinicopathological factors in breast cancer patients. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 610 patients with primary breast cancer who underwent surgical treatment without preoperative chemotherapy at Kagoshima University Hospital between January 2001 and January 2015. Results: When patients with and without HTLV-1 infection were compared, no differences in clinicopathological factors were observed, except for age. Disease-free survival and overall survival rates did not differ between groups. Conclusions: HTLV-1-positive patients were significantly older than HTLV-1-negative patients. It was supposed to be due to the fact that the HTLV-1 infection rate is decreasing. Any effect of HTLV-1 infection on breast cancer progression appears to be negligibly small.
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