Biology and treatment of Epstein-Barr virus-associated non-Hodgkin lymphomas

Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2005:260-6. doi: 10.1182/asheducation-2005.1.260.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with several different types of aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Individuals with primary or secondary immunodeficiency are susceptible to developing B cell lymphoproliferation due to outgrowth of EBV-infected B cells that express type III latency characterized by expression of all nine latent-cycle EBV antigens. These cells would normally be susceptible to control by EBV-specific T cells, and strategies to restore EBV-specific immune responses may be effective therapeutically. EBV-associated lymphomas occurring in individuals who do not have a known immunodeficiency include NK and T malignancies with cytotoxic phenotypes, sporadic cases of B-NHL and lymphomatoid granulomatosis. These malignancies respond poorly to standard chemoradiotherapy, and immunotherapeutic or pharmacologic strategies targeting EBV are being explored.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / complications
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / genetics
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / immunology*
  • Graft Rejection
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / complications
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / virology
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / chemically induced
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / immunology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / therapy
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / virology*
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders / virology
  • Methotrexate / toxicity
  • Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Virus Latency


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Methotrexate