EBV Plasma Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) DNA as a Biomarker for Diagnosis of EBV-positive Hodgkin Lymphoma in Syria

J Infect Dev Ctries. 2021 Dec 31;15(12):1917-1922. doi: 10.3855/jidc.14919.


Introduction: Epstein Barr Virus - positive Hodgkin lymphoma is defined by the presence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in tumor cells. EBV plays an important role in the development and prognosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma. The standard way to detect EBV in Hodgkin lymphoma is immunohistochemistry stains for latent membrane protein-1 (LMP1) in tumor cells. The present study aimed to evaluate plasma Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA as a noninvasive biomarker for diagnosis of EBV-positive Hodgkin lymphoma.

Methodology: The study included 60 newly diagnosed patients with Hodgkin lymphoma, ranging in age from 4 to 60 years, and 55 sex and age-matched controls. (60) Formalin-fixed paraffin embedded blocks of Hodgkin lymphoma tissue samples were used to investigate the EBV by in immunohistochemistry stains for (LMP1) in tumor cells. Plasma EBV DNA was quantified by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for all Hodgkin lymphoma patients prior to therapy and for control.

Results: The results showed that (25/60, 41.7%) of Hodgkin lymphoma were positive for histological LMP1, whereas plasma EBV DNA was detectable (range from 1.1×103 to 1.5×104 copies/mL, median: 1.1×104 copies/mL) in all EBV-positive Hodgkin lymphoma samples (25/25). EBV DNA was undetectable in all cases of EBV-negative Hodgkin lymphoma (35/35) and all healthy control (55/55). It is worth mentioning that our results demonstrated that the EBV DNA load was high in the EBV associated Hodgkin lymphoma patients suffering poor prognostic state.

Conclusions: Plasma EBV-DNA can be used as a noninvasive biomarker for diagnosis of EBV- positive Hodgkin lymphoma.

Keywords: EBV; Hodgkin lymphoma; LMP1; Syria; immunohistochemistry; plasma EBV DNA.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA, Viral / blood*
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification
  • Hodgkin Disease / blood
  • Hodgkin Disease / diagnosis*
  • Hodgkin Disease / virology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Syria
  • Viral Load
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • DNA, Viral