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Sci Rep


Adult; Aged; Bacteria; Bacteroides; Breast Neoplasms; Cancer Survivors; Case-Control Studies; Female; Glucuronidase; Humans; Microbiota; Middle Aged; Nipple Aspirate Fluid; RNA, Ribosomal, 16S; Sequence Analysis, RNA; Skin; Sphingomonadaceae


The microbiome impacts human health and disease. Until recently, human breast tissue and milk were presumed to be sterile. Here, we investigated the presence of microbes in the nipple aspirate fluid (NAF) and their potential association with breast cancer. We compared the NAF microbiome between women with a history of breast cancer (BC) and healthy control women (HC) using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. The NAF microbiome from BC and HC showed significant differences in community composition. Two Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) showed differences in relative abundances between NAF collected from BC and HC. In NAF collected from BC, there was relatively higher incidence of the genus Alistipes. By contrast, an unclassified genus from the Sphingomonadaceae family was relatively more abundant in NAF from HC. These findings reflect the ductal source DNA since there were no differences between areolar skin samples collected from BC and HC. Furthermore, the microbes associated with BC share an enzymatic activity, Beta-Glucuronidase, which may promote breast cancer. This is the first report of bacterial DNA in human breast ductal fluid and the differences between NAF from HC and BC. Further investigation of the ductal microbiome and its potential role in breast cancer are warranted.

Clinical Institute


Clinical Institute

Women & Children



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