BACKGROUNDA large number of epidemiological studies have evaluated the association between Epstein-Barr virus infection and breast carcinoma risk but results have been inconsistent.METHODOLOGYResearch using the polymerase chain reaction technique for detecting the Epstein-Barr virus was selected; 24 studies and 1535 cases were reviewed. Information on the study populations, sample types, publication calendar period and histological types of breast carcinoma were collected. An unconditional logistic regression model was used to analyze potential parameters related to the Epstein-Barr virus prevalence. A Kappa test was used to evaluate the consistency in detecting different Epstein-Barr virus DNA regions. Nine studies that included control groups and 1045 breast cancer cases were adopted in this meta-analysis.CONCLUSIONSWe found that 29.32% of the patients with breast carcinoma were infected with the Epstein-Barr virus. The prevalence of Epstein-Barr was highest in Asia (35.25%) and lowest in the USA (18.27%). Statistical analysis revealed a trend that showed lobular breast carcinoma might have the strongest association with Epstein-Barr virus infection. This meta-analysis showed a significant increase in breast malignancy risk in patients testing positive for the Epstein-Barr virus (OR = 6.29, 95% CI = 2.13-18.59). This result suggests that an Epstein-Barr virus infection is statistically associated with increased breast carcinoma risk.