Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the primary cause of infectious mononucleosis and is associated with several malignancies, including nasopharyngeal carcinoma, gastric carcinoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, Burkitt lymphoma, and lymphomas in immunocompromised persons, as well as multiple sclerosis. A vaccine is currently unavailable. While monomeric EBV gp350 was shown in a phase 2 trial to reduce the incidence of infectious mononucleosis, but not the rate of EBV infection, newer formulations of gp350 including multimeric forms, viruslike particles, and nanoparticles may be more effective. A vaccine that also includes additional viral glycoproteins, lytic proteins, or latency proteins might improve the effectiveness of an EBV gp350 vaccine. Clinical trials to determine if an EBV vaccine can reduce the rate of infectious mononucleosis or posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease should be performed. The former is important since infectious mononucleosis can be associated with debilitating fatigue as well as other complications, and EBV infectious mononucleosis is associated with increased rates of Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple sclerosis. A vaccine to reduce EBV posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease would be an important proof of principle to prevent an EBV-associated malignancy. Trials of an EBV vaccine to reduce the incidence of Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple sclerosis, or Burkitt lymphoma would be difficult but feasible.
Keywords: Burkitt lymphoma; Epstein-Barr virus; Gastric carcinoma; Hodgkin lymphoma; Infectious mononucleosis; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma.