Epstein-Barr virus and Hodgkin's disease: further evidence for the three disease hypothesis

Leukemia. 1998 Aug;12(8):1272-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.leu.2401097.


The epidemiology of Hodgkin's disease suggests that it is a heterogeneous condition comprising more than one disease entity. The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is present in the Reed-Sternberg cells of a proportion of cases and is likely to play a role in the pathogenesis of these cases. In this study we show that EBV association rates vary with age at diagnosis. We suggest that Hodgkin's disease can be divided into three disease entities on the basis of EBV association and age, thereby providing biological support for the multiple aetiology hypothesis proposed by MacMahon (Cancer Res 1966; 26: 1189-1290).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human*
  • Hodgkin Disease / epidemiology
  • Hodgkin Disease / virology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged