Epstein-Barr virus and carcinomas. Expression of the viral genome in an undifferentiated gastric carcinoma

Diagn Mol Pathol. 1992 Jun;1(2):103-8.


The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinomas (NPCs). Recently, EBV DNA has been demonstrated also in some cases of gastric carcinoma with similar morphology as undifferentiated NPC. Here we report on the expression of EBV genes in a gastric undifferentiated carcinoma of nasopharyngeal type (UCNT). The small EBV-encoded nuclear RNAs, EBERs, were expressed in all tumor cells. The BZLF1 transactivator protein, which disrupts viral latency, was detectable in a small subset of tumor cells. The latent membrane protein and the nuclear antigen EBNA2 were not expressed. These results indicate that lytic EBV infection may be possible in undifferentiated epithelial cells. Our findings add to the growing body of evidence suggesting a strong association of gastric UCNT with EBV and point to the possibility of an involvement of the virus in the pathogenesis of this neoplasm.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Genome, Viral
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA Probes
  • Stomach Neoplasms / etiology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology


  • DNA, Viral
  • RNA Probes