High frequency of EBV association and 30-bp deletion in the LMP-1 gene in CD56 lymphomas of the upper aerodigestive tract

Pathol Int. 2004 Mar;54(3):158-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1827.2003.01602.x.


Natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphomas are frequently associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and usually lack TCR gene rearrangement. Studies from Asia have reported frequent deletion in the LMP-1 gene in EBV-associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). The present study aims to investigate LMP-1 and TCRgamma gene status in upper aerodigestive tract lymphomas. A total of 43 cases were classified into T-, B-, and NK/T-cell tumors based on the phenotype expressions of CD3(+)/CD20(-)/CD56(-), CD3(-)/CD20(+)/CD56(-), and CD3(+)/CD20(-)/CD56(+), respectively. The presence of EBV in the tumor was confirmed by EBV early RNA-in situ hybridization. LMP-1 gene deletion and TCR gamma gene rearrangement were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction on paraffin-embedded tissues. There were 20 NK/T-, eight T-, and 15 B-cell phenotype lymphomas in the present series, and EBV was detected in 19 (95%), two (25%), and three (20%) cases in the respective groups. All EBV+ cases carried 30-bp deletion in the LMP-1 gene, and two of the NK/T-cell cases were infected by both the wild type and deleted strains. Five (25%) of the NK/T-cell phenotype lymphomas showed rearranged TCR gamma gene. The present study revealed a high frequency of EBV association, and a high frequency of 30-bp deletion in the LMP-1 gene in the virus in the present series of lymphoma. The NK/T-phenotype lymphomas are comprised of both NK-cell and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-derived tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Base Sequence
  • CD56 Antigen / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Rearrangement, gamma-Chain T-Cell Antigen Receptor
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunophenotyping
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Killer Cells, Natural / pathology
  • Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Lymphoma / virology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / virology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Homology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / pathology
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / genetics*


  • CD56 Antigen
  • EBV-associated membrane antigen, Epstein-Barr virus
  • Viral Matrix Proteins