Prevalence of antibodies to four herpesviruses among adults with glioma and controls

Am J Epidemiol. 2001 Jul 15;154(2):161-5. doi: 10.1093/aje/154.2.161.


The authors previously reported statistically significant inverse associations between adult onset glioma and histories of chickenpox and shingles among 462 cases and 443 controls in the San Francisco Bay Area Adult Glioma Study (1991--1995) and a suggestive but nonsignificant inverse association with immunoglobulin G antibodies to varicella-zoster virus in a small subset of these cases. This report considers antibodies to four common herpesviruses (varicella zoster, herpes simplex, cytomegalovirus, and Epstein Barr) among 134 cases and 165 controls that represent all subjects for whom usable blood specimens were available. The prevalences of immunoglobulin G antibodies to varicella-zoster virus, herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, and Epstein-Barr virus were 90%, 71%, 57%, and 90%, respectively. After adjustment for age, White versus non-White ethnicity, and gender, glioblastoma cases were less likely than controls to have immunoglobulin G antibodies to varicella-zoster virus (odds ratio = 0.4; 95% confidence interval: 0.1, 0.9). They were also somewhat less likely to have antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus but somewhat more likely to have antibodies to herpes simplex virus and cytomegalovirus. Antibody prevalences to all four herpesviruses were similar between cases with other glioma histologies and controls. These results corroborate our previously suggestive findings of an inverse association of varicella-zoster virus antibodies with adult onset glioma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Brain Neoplasms / blood*
  • Brain Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Brain Neoplasms / etiology
  • Brain Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology*
  • Female
  • Glioma / blood*
  • Glioma / epidemiology
  • Glioma / etiology
  • Glioma / immunology*
  • Herpes Simplex / immunology*
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / immunology*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • San Francisco / epidemiology
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G