Effect of Epstein-Barr virus infection on response to chemotherapy and survival in Hodgkin's disease

P G Murray, L J Billingham, H T Hassan, J R Flavell, P N Nelson, K Scott, G Reynolds, C M Constandinou, D J Kerr, E C Devey, J Crocker, L S Young

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We have analyzed paraffin sections from 190 patients with histologically confirmed Hodgkin's disease (HD) for the presence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) using in situ hybridization to detect the EBV-encoded Epstein-Barr virus early RNAs (EBERs) and immunohistochemistry to identify latent membrane protein-1 (LMP1) expression. EBV was present in the tumor cells in 51 HD cases (27%) and was mainly confined to the mixed cellularity and nodular sclerosis subtypes. There was no difference between EBV-positive and EBV-negative HD patients with regard to age, clinical stage, presentation, and the number of alternating chemotherapy cycles of ChIVPP and PABIOE received. The complete remission rate after study chemotherapy was 80% in EBV-positive patients versus 69% in EBV-negative patients (P =.05). The 2-year failure-free survival rate was significantly better for EBV-positive patients when compared with the EBV-negative HD group (P =.02). Although 2-year and 5-year overall survival rates were better for EBV-positive HD patients, the differences were not statistically significant (P =.18 and P =.40, respectively). In conclusion, the results confirm the favorable prognostic value of EBV in the tumor cells of HD patients and suggest important differences in response to chemotherapy between EBV-positive and EBV-negative patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-7
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 1999


  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
  • Chlorambucil
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • England
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human
  • Hodgkin Disease
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Life Tables
  • Prednisone
  • Procarbazine
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Viral
  • Remission Induction
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vinblastine
  • Viral Matrix Proteins


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