Background: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive gastric cancers represent a distinct subtype of gastric cancers and account for nearly 10% of the gastric cancer burden, yet risk detection strategies for this cancer subtype are lacking.
Methods: We conducted a nested case-control study where we assayed 4 EBV antigens [viral capsid antigen (VCA), early antigen (EA), Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen (EBNA), and BZLF1-encoded replication activator protein (ZEBRA)] in either sera or plasma from 1447 gastric cancer cases and 1797 controls obtained from seven prospective cohorts representing individuals from the high gastric cancer-risk countries of China, Japan, and Korea.
Results: The prevalence of EBV sero-positivity was universal with the exception of one sero-negative individual, and the highest titers of the EBV antigens VCA (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.78-1.17), EBNA (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.72-1.08), EA (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.79-1.19), and ZEBRA (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.71-1.07) were not associated with risk of incident gastric cancer. When we stratified these data by H. pylori status, there was no change in the association.
Conclusions: Multiplex serology of the aforementioned EBV antigens in serum may not be a suitable biomarker for predicting gastric cancer risk in East Asian populations.
Keywords: Epstein–Barr virus; Gastric cancer; Multiplex serology.