Serum and salivary IgA antibodies against a defined epitope of the Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen (EBNA) are elevated in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Int J Cancer. 1990 Jun 15;45(6):1061-4. doi: 10.1002/ijc.2910450614.


The Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen I (EBNA I) is the only latent EBV antigen consistently expressed in malignant tissues of the nasopharynx. A 20-amino-acid synthetic peptide, p107 contains a major epitope of EBNA I. We tested sera from 210 patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and from 128 normal individuals (NHS) for IgA antibodies to p107 using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Whereas 191/210 (91%) of NPC patients had IgA antibodies to p107, only 17/128 (13.3%) of NHS had such antibodies and only 6/57 (10.5%) of sera from patients with malignancies other than NPC had IgA-p107 reactivity. Thirty-nine salivary samples from 46 NPC patients (84.8%) also contained IgA-p107 antibodies whereas only 3/42 (7.1%) of normal saliva samples were IgA-p107 positive. The results suggest that IgA antibodies to EBNA I may become a useful, easily measurable, marker for NPC.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis*
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology*
  • Carcinoma / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Epitopes / immunology*
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigens
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Peptides / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Reference Values
  • Saliva / immunology*
  • Viral Proteins / immunology


  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Epitopes
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigens
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Peptides
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Viral Proteins