Description of an in situ hybridization methodology for detection of Epstein-Barr virus RNA in paraffin-embedded tissues, with a survey of normal and neoplastic tissues

Diagn Mol Pathol. 1992 Dec;1(4):246-55.


The authors describe a highly sensitive and practical in situ hybridization method using an oligonucleotide probe for EBER1 RNA for the detection of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections. Paraffin-embedded tissues from 793 cases of normal and neoplastic tissues were studied. Nuclear staining for EBV RNA was uniformly present in all or virtually all neoplastic cells in a variety of known EBV-positive tumors. We also demonstrate rare EBV-infected cells in normal lymphoid tissues. RNAase predigestion, competitive inhibition, and control probe studies confirmed the specificity of the staining. In addition, cross-reactivity of EBV RNA staining with other viruses was not present. Additionally, the distribution of EBV in a wide variety of other normal and neoplastic tissues is reported.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Genes, Viral
  • Herpesviridae Infections / diagnosis
  • Herpesviridae Infections / microbiology
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization / methods*
  • In Situ Hybridization / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • RNA, Viral / genetics*
  • RNA, Viral / isolation & purification*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tumor Virus Infections / diagnosis
  • Tumor Virus Infections / microbiology


  • DNA, Viral
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • RNA, Viral