Introduction/Background Breast cancer (BC) is the leading malignancy worldwide. The association between human papillomavirus (HPV) and BC is debatable. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to assess the prevalence of HPV DNA in malignant breast tumours.
Methodology An extensive search of PubMed and SCOPUS databases was conducted for case-control studies published from 1st January 2003 to 7th January 2023, which compared HPV DNA detection in breast tissue specimens of BC patients and women with absent or benign breast disorders. Once the initial title/abstract screening was completed by two independent investigators, the full texts of the included studies from that stage were reviewed by the above authors to determine if they should be included. Data extraction was independently conducted by two researchers. A third reviewer was consulted to resolve disagreements through free discussion. MedCalc version 20.210 was used for quantitative synthesis. The significance of association was estimated by pooled odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) calculated by the random-effect model.
Results Twenty-three primary studies, including 3243 subjects (2027 patients and 1216 controls), were qualified as eligible for quantitative analysis. HPV prevalence in BC and controls was 21.95% and 89.6%, respectively. The prevalence of HPV differed significantly among the two groups (summary OR 3.83, 95% CI 2.03–7.25, P<0.01). Heterogeneity among studies was quantified using the I2 test, which was 69.57% (95% CI 51.89–80.75). We assessed risk of bias with an appropriate tool (contributed by the CLARITY Group at McMaster University). Seven studies had a low risk of bias, 15 studies a moderate risk of bias, and only one study had a serious risk of bias.
Conclusion These results reinforce the hypothesis that HPV is involved in BC development and progression, thus implicating a possible role for HPV vaccines in BC prevention.
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