Nasopharyngeal carcinoma, aplastic anemia, and various malignancies in a family: possible role of Epstein-Barr virus

Am J Med Genet. 1987 May;27(1):195-202. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320270121.


We report on a family ascertained because of sibs affected with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Other relatives had aplastic anemia or other malignancies and most were born of consanguineous parents. Epstein-Barr virus has been strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. It has also been suggested as a cause of aplastic anemia and other neoplasms. We postulate that this extensive German-Mennonite family has a heritable defect in the immune response to Epstein-Barr virus making its members at excessive risk for a number of different malignancies. This immunologic predisposition may be HLA associated and appears to be inherited as an autosomal recessive trait.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Aplastic / etiology
  • Anemia, Aplastic / genetics*
  • Consanguinity
  • Female
  • Herpesviridae Infections / complications
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / pathogenicity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pedigree