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Sci Rep . Impact of in vitro SARS-CoV-2 infection on breast cancer cells

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  • Sci Rep . Impact of in vitro SARS-CoV-2 infection on breast cancer cells

    Sci Rep

    . 2024 Jun 7;14(1):13134.
    doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-63804-3. Impact of in vitro SARS-CoV-2 infection on breast cancer cells

    Michele Sommariva # 1 2 , Maria Dolci # 3 , Tiziana Triulzi 4 , Federico Ambrogi 5 , Matteo Dugo 6 , Loris De Cecco 7 , Valentino Le Noci 8 , Giancarla Bernardo 8 , Martina Anselmi 8 , Elena Montanari 8 , Serenella M Pupa 4 , Lucia Signorini 3 , Nicoletta Gagliano 8 , Lucia Sfondrini 8 4 , Serena Delbue 3 , Elda Tagliabue 4


    The pandemic of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), caused by severe respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), had severe repercussions for breast cancer patients. Increasing evidence indicates that SARS-CoV-2 infection may directly impact breast cancer biology, but the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on breast tumor cells are still unknown. Here, we analyzed the molecular events occurring in the MCF7, MDA-MB-231 and HCC1937 breast cancer cell lines, representative of the luminal A, basal B/claudin-low and basal A subtypes, respectively, upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. Viral replication was monitored over time, and gene expression profiling was conducted. We found that MCF7 cells were the most permissive to viral replication. Treatment of MCF7 cells with Tamoxifen reduced the SARS-CoV-2 replication rate, suggesting an involvement of the estrogen receptor in sustaining virus replication in malignant cells. Interestingly, a metagene signature based on genes upregulated by SARS-CoV-2 infection in all three cell lines distinguished a subgroup of premenopausal luminal A breast cancer patients with a poor prognosis. As SARS-CoV-2 still spreads among the population, it is essential to understand the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on breast cancer, particularly in premenopausal patients diagnosed with the luminal A subtype, and to assess the long-term impact of COVID-19 on breast cancer outcomes.

    Keywords: Breast cancer; Estrogen receptor; Luminal A breast cancer; SARS-CoV-2.