Nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Israel: epidemiology and Epstein-Barr virus-related serology

Eur J Cancer Clin Oncol. 1987 Sep;23(9):1277-81. doi: 10.1016/0277-5379(87)90108-8.


Epidemiological, histological and serological characteristics of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) were investigated. Included were 25 patients aged 10-70 with male to female ratio 2:1. Among 23 Jewish patients, 18 were of Asian-African (AA) and five of European (Eur) descent; two were Arabs (Ar). The dominant histological type among AA patients was undifferentiated carcinoma (UCNT) and among Eur squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Elevated IgG and IgA antibodies to Epstein-Barr (EBV) viral capsid, early and nuclear antigens were observed in patients, as compared to 34 healthy controls matched by age, sex and ethnic origin. Although not statistically significant, antibodies to EBV were elevated in AA, as compared to Eur patients. No significant differences in IgG and IgA antibodies to Herpes simplex, Cytomegalo and Varicella-zoster viruses were demonstrated among patients and controls. The study suggests that NPC in Israel, as elsewhere, is associated with EBV and genetic or environmental factors may influence the prevalence of NPC among certain ethnic groups.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis*
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Capsid / immunology
  • Capsid Proteins*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / immunology
  • Child
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigens
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Capsid Proteins
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigens
  • Epstein-Barr viral capsid antigen
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G