Background: Although the association of human papillomavirus (HPV) with many cancers is well established, the involvement of HPV in breast cancer remains controversial. The purpose of this study is to perform a comprehensive review of the results and methods used to demonstrate that HPV markers are present in human breast cancer, and how well these studies fulfil the criteria for proving the viral etiology of a cancer. Study Design: We conducted a search for molecular studies published until November 2016 that relate human breast cancer to HPV. Results: Forty-three original molecular studies were found, some of which compared cases to nonneoplastic controls. Some investigations did not identify HPV in mammary tissue, but others identified it with different frequencies of positivity, varying between 1.2 and 86%. In most case-control studies (21/24 studies), positivity in cases was found to be higher than in controls, but odds ratios and confidence intervals were not reported. Conclusion: The results are controversial. However, they arouse a great interest in the potential participation of HPV in breast carcinogenesis, but rather as an essential cause-effect participant, at least as a co-participant in some cases. The circumstance of HPV positivity in breast cancer can be criticized, but the elements that clearly demonstrate it in a number of cases are also relevant.

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