Background: Carcinoma arising in the gastric remnant many years after partial gastrectomy for benign disease, referred to as gastric remnant cancer (GRC) is well known, and many causal explanations have been proposed. Elsewhere, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) involvement has been demonstrated in a small but significant fraction of gastric cancers, and evidence has been presented suggesting that, in positive cases, EBV may have played a causal role. The present report is concerned with EBV involvement in GRC in particular.
Methods: Paraffin sections from 48 cases of GRC were studied by EBER-1 in situ hybridization.
Results: Thirteen cases (27.1%) showed uniform hybridized signals restricted to the carcinoma cells in contrast to no hybridization in the normal mucosa, intestinal metaplasia, or hyperplastic epithelium. The prevalence of EBV involvement in GRC was significantly higher (P < 0.0001) than in gastric carcinomas from 1825 nonremnant cases; the difference remained highly significant even when the comparison was restricted to nonremnant cancers arising in the cardia and middle stomach, for which EBV-positive rates were highest.
Conclusion: The EBV may play an important role in the carcinogenesis of GRC.