Lymphoepithelioma-like cholangiocarcinoma: an Epstein-Barr virus-associated tumor

Am J Surg Pathol. 2001 Apr;25(4):516-20. doi: 10.1097/00000478-200104000-00012.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been linked to carcinomas of several body sites, especially of the nasopharynx, salivary gland, lung, and stomach. We present five cases of lymphoepithelioma-like cholangiocarcinoma, including one that had been previously reported. Two patients were men and three were women. Their ages ranged from 42 to 66 years. Histologically, all five tumors were composed of variable proportions of undifferentiated epithelial cells and glandular components in a lymphocyte-rich stroma. EBV was detected in all five tumors by in situ hybridization for EBER-1 in both lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma (LELC) and glandular parts, but not in 36 cases of cholangiocarcinoma without the LELC component. Taken together, these observations indicate that lymphoepithelioma-like cholangiocarcinoma is strongly linked to EBV. The LELC type of cholangiocarcinoma, like LELC of other body sites, may be more common in areas with endemic EBV infection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / virology
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic / chemistry
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / chemistry
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / virology
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / complications
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / pathology*
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Keratins / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Viral / analysis


  • Epstein-Barr virus encoded RNA 1
  • RNA, Viral
  • Keratins