Epstein-Barr virus, infectious mononucleosis, Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma

G. Klein

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5 Scopus citations


A study was made of the relation between Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), infectious mononucleosis, Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. EBV is a lymphotropic herpesvirus in man, its main target being the human B lymphocyte. Only B lymphocytes and most if not all T lymphocytes have specific EBV receptors. Recent evidence suggests that the complement receptor of the B lymphocyte is either identical to or closely associated with EBV receptor. EBV infects the majority of all adult human populations in all countries. The human cancers, nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and African Burkitt's lymphoma show a remarkable consistent association with EBV, both by serology and by EBV genome tests. A discussion about the possible role of EBV in human cancers would not be complete without considering the relation between EBV and NPC. In contrast to Burkitt's lymphoma, there appears to be no major geographic variation in the EBV-Carrying status of NPC, but there is a striking histologic restriction. Genetic factors are known to play an important role in some highly endemic ethnic groups, the Chinese in particular. In addition to the possible existence of an NPC-associated viral subtype, it would be important to obtain some information about the EBV susceptibility of the normal progenitor cell in the nasopharyngeal epithelium. (Szirmai - Stuttgart)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-724
Number of pages9
JournalIsrael Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1977
Externally publishedYes


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