Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is an etiological agent for gastric cancer with significant worldwide variations. Molecular characterizations of EBV have shown phylogeographical variations among healthy populations and in EBV-associated diseases, particularly the cosegregated BamHI-I fragment and XhoI restriction site of exon 1 of the LMP-1 gene. In the Americas, both cosegregated variants are present in EBV carriers, which aligns with the history of Asian and European human migration to this continent. Furthermore, novel recombinant variants have been found, reflecting the genetic makeup of this continent. However, in the case of EBV-associated gastric cancer (EBV-associated GC), the cosegregated European BamHI-"i" fragment and XhoI restriction site strain prevails. Thus, we propose that a disrupted coevolution between viral phylogeographical strains and mixed human ancestry in the Americas might explain the high prevalence of this particular gastric cancer subtype. This cosegregated region contains two relevant transcripts for EBV-associated GC, the BARF-1 and miR-BARTs. Thus, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) or targeted sequencing of both transcripts may be required to clarify their role as a potential source of this disrupted coevolution.
Keywords: Epstein-Barr Virus; gastric cancer; human ancestry; viral phylogeography.