Epstein-Barr virus and nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Lawrence S Young, Christopher W Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Since its discovery 50 years ago, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been linked to the development of cancers originating from both lymphoid and epithelial cells. Approximately 95% of the world's population sustains an asymptomatic, life-long infection with EBV. The virus persists in the memory B-cell pool of normal healthy individuals, and any disruption of this interaction results in virus-associated B-cell tumors. The association of EBV with epithelial cell tumors, specifically nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and EBV-positive gastric carcinoma (EBV-GC), is less clear and is currently thought to be caused by the aberrant establishment of virus latency in epithelial cells that display premalignant genetic changes. Although the precise role of EBV in the carcinogenic process is currently poorly understood, the presence of the virus in all tumor cells provides opportunities for developing novel therapeutic and diagnostic approaches. The study of EBV and its role in carcinomas continues to provide insight into the carcinogenic process that is relevant to a broader understanding of tumor pathogenesis and to the development of targeted cancer therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-90
Number of pages10
JournalChinese Journal of Cancer
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms
  • Stomach Neoplasms


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