Frequent expression of Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein-1 in tumour cells of Hodgkin's disease in HIV-positive patients

J Pathol. 1992 Aug;167(4):381-4. doi: 10.1002/path.1711670406.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is believed to be implicated in the aetiology of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas developing in immunodeficient individuals including AIDS patients. EBV has also been associated with Hodgkin's disease (HD), where the genomes have been demonstrated in the Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg cells in some of the cases. Recent evidence has shown that EBV genomes are transcribed in these cells, because the EBV-encoded latent membrane protein-1 (LMP-1) can be demonstrated in the tumour cells in about half of the HD cases in HIV-negative patients using immunohistochemistry. LMP-1 is of special interest as a possible oncogenic agent because of its strong transforming capacity in vitro. In this study we have examined the expression of LMP-1 in HD of HIV-positive patients compared with HD in HIV-negative patients. We investigated 18 lymph nodes from 16 HIV-positive patients with HD (eight mixed cellularity, nine nodular sclerosis, one unclassified) using the CS.1-4 anti-LMP-1 monoclonal antibodies, which can usually be applied successfully to archival biopsy material. In each case, 50-90 per cent of the tumour cells were labelled. Staining was excellent for both fixatives used (4 per cent buffered formalin, Bouin's fluid). It is concluded that EBV-encoded LMP-1 is firmly associated with HD of HIV-positive patients. This is most conspicuous in the nodular sclerosing subtype HD in HIV-positive patients, in which 100 per cent were LMP-1 positive as compared with 32 per cent of nodular sclerosis HD in HIV-negative cases in a previously published series. This difference is statistically significant (P < 0.001). The possible biological and clinical significance of this difference should therefore be studied in larger series.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • HIV Seropositivity / complications
  • HIV Seropositivity / pathology*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics*
  • Hodgkin Disease / complications
  • Hodgkin Disease / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / analysis*
  • Viral Matrix Proteins*


  • Antigens, Viral
  • EBV-associated membrane antigen, Epstein-Barr virus
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • Viral Matrix Proteins