Disparity analysis and prognostic value of pretreatment whole blood Epstein-Barr virus DNA load and Epstein-Barr encoding region status in lymphomas: A retrospective multicenter study in Huaihai Lymphoma Working Group

Int J Cancer. 2021 Sep 14. doi: 10.1002/ijc.33802. Online ahead of print.


Elevated Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA load is common in lymphomas. However, it remains unclear whether the disparity in viral load and its prognostic value in lymphomas are correlated with Epstein-Barr encoding region (EBER) status. In this retrospective multicenter study, we collected the data of pretreatment whole blood EBV DNA (pre-EBV DNA) and EBER status and evaluated their disparity and prognostic values in lymphomas. A total of 454 lymphoma patients from December 2014 to August 2020 were retrospectively retrieved. Mann-Whitney U test, Kruskal-Wallis test and Bonferroni's adjustment were used to explore the disparity of EBV DNA and EBER status in lymphomas. Time-dependent receiver operating characteristic analysis and MaxStat analysis were used to determine optimal cutoff points of pre-EBV DNA load. Univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were established for the estimation of prognostic factors. The positive rate of EBV DNA in natural killer T-cell lymphoma (NKTL) patients was higher than that in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), follicular lymphoma (FL) and Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) patients, and the median positive pre-EBV copy number of NKTL was also higher than that of FL and DLBCL. EBV DNA could clearly distinguish the prognosis of DLBCL, NKTL, HL and peripheral T-cell lymphoma, and the integration of EBER status and EBV DNA could differentiate the prognosis of HL patients. Multivariable results revealed that pre-EBV DNA load had an effect on the prognosis of NKTL, FL and DLBCL. The status of pre-EBV DNA and EBER were disparate. Whole blood pre-EBV DNA predicted the prognosis of lymphomas, and the combination of EBV and EBER status could differentiate the prognosis of HL.

Keywords: EBER; Epstein-Barr virus; lymphoma; multicenter; prognosis.