Considerations for epidemiologic studies to test the hypothesis of viral causation of human breast cancer

Keerti V. Shah, Frederik B. Bang, Helen Abbey

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Epidemiologic studies, designed to determine if there is a correlation between the presence of type-B particles in milk and a high incidence of breast cancer, would be most meaningful if they were done uniformly in several populations selected to cover a wide range of breast cancer incidence, e.g., Parsi and U.S. white women for high-incidence and Hindu and Japanese women for low-incidence populations,- and if frequencies and numbers of В particles in milk were compared in high-risk and control women in the same population. A history of breast cancer in a close blood relative may identify the high-risk woman in each of these populations, although the evidence for a familial aggregation of breast cancer is not unequivocal. Each lactating high-risk woman (with a family history of breast cancer) should be paired with one without such a history but matching with respect to other characteristics which influence breast cancer risk, e.g., ethnic group and religion, age, parity, and socioeconomic status. If the prevalence or numbers of В particles in the milk of high-risk women were higher as compared to that in control women in each population studied, such a finding would strengthen the hypothesis of В-type virus etiology. Much more definitive information would be obtained if normal lactating women were first studied for В particles in their milk and then followed for the occurrence of breast cancer

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1035-1038
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1972

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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