I'm getting ready for work, so I won't take the time to write about
this at length. It is just one of those things that is a bit
startling and I often like to post such things. This is from
Medscape (free registration required):
Pose a Risk Factor For Breast Cancer?
June 27, 2006 — Breast cancer patients were twice as likely
to have kept a dog as a pet in the past 10 years than age-matched
controls in a small study conducted by researchers at the University of
Munich, Germany. They suggest that dogs may offer a route of
transmission for the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV), as well as other
microbes, which could participate in the first steps of carcinogenesis
in humans. Writing in the June issue of Medical Hypotheses, they
speculate that pet dogs harboring such risk factors offers a possible
explanation for the increase in breast cancer in Western countries and
its correlation with a higher standard of living.
Asked to comment on the paper, Jennifer Wheler, MD, special fellow at
the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, says, "This is a
controversial area of research." The hypothesis is not new, as there
have been scientific papers in the past suggesting that MMTV or
MMTV-like organisms may contribute to the development of breast cancer.
However, she tells Medscape: "This is a hypothesis that requires much
I wonder if that toxo parasite cats give you has some protective effect against breast cancer?
I hope there isn't really a link between the 2
Ni hao! Kannichi Wa! Epidemiologists, virologists and reductionists in general keep hoping for evidence of a simple viral etiology for cancer and this is one of the oldest specific ones next to Rous sarcoma virus. As in most epidemiology studies of this type, the question can easily be reversed. Do persons who like dogs have a tendency for breast cancer? MOTYR
I find it very suspiscious that they published this research in Medical Hypotheses. This isn't a peer-reviewed journal, and it's usually for more theoretical musings. A paper with actual data should have gone out for peer review, so I'm wondering if they did send it to other journals and were unable to get it published.
The MMTV connection is an intriguing (but as the article notes, controversial) one, but I'm not aware of any evidence that dogs can pass it along. Sounds like they're stretching waaaay too far on this one.
I hope that perhaps the authors published it for the same reason I posted it; that is, it is one of those "gee whiz, I wonder if there is something to this" kinds of things.
BTW, the abstract is here, if anyone wants to look at the original material.