Epstein-Barr virus: more than 50 years old and still providing surprises

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • The University of Warwick
  • Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences and Oral Cancer Research and Coordinating Centre, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Institute of Cancer and Genomic Medicine, University of Birmingham, Vincent Drive, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.


It is more than 50 years since the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the first human tumour virus, was discovered. EBV has subsequently been found to be associated with a diverse range of tumours of both lymphoid and epithelial origin. Progress in the molecular analysis of EBV has revealed fundamental mechanisms of more general relevance to the oncogenic process. This Timeline article highlights key milestones in the 50-year history of EBV and discusses how this virus provides a paradigm for exploiting insights at the molecular level in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-802
Number of pages14
JournalNature Reviews Cancer
Issue number12
Early online date30 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections/virology, Herpesvirus 4, Human/physiology, History, 20th Century, History, 21st Century, Humans, Lymphoma/virology, Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial/virology