Clinical value of Epstein-Barr virus DNA levels in peripheral blood samples of Italian patients with undifferentiated carcinoma of nasopharyngeal type

Cancer Lett. 2006 Feb 28;233(2):247-54. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2005.03.015.


We investigated EBV viremia in matched serum and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from one of the largest Italian cohort of Undifferentiated Carcinoma of Nasopharyngeal Type (UCNT) patients (N=34). By using a LMP-1 real-time PCR assay, we found that EBV DNA detection rate was 74% (median 8417 copies/ml) and 24% (median 164 copies/10(6)cells) on serum and PBMCs, respectively. Significantly higher serum EBV DNA levels were detected in patients with advanced UCNT (nodal stage N2 versus N0-1 and N3 versus N0-1, P=0.03 and 0.018; overall stage IV versus I-II, P=0.03). During the follow-up, there was also a statistically significant difference of EBV DNA viral load between patients with and without clinical relapse (P=0.008). We concluded that serum EBV DNA reflects the biological activity of the UCNT and may be a prognostic factor also in a low-incidence region.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma / blood*
  • Carcinoma / virology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • DNA, Viral / blood*
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / blood*
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / virology
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / blood*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / virology
  • Nasopharynx / metabolism
  • Nasopharynx / virology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Viral Load
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Viremia / blood*
  • Viremia / virology


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