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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2002 Dec;126(12):1501-5.

Lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma of the uterine cervix.

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  • 1Servicio Anatomía Patológica, Hospital General Universitario, Valencia, Spain.



It has been proposed that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) plays a role in the etiology of lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma (LELC) in diverse anatomic locations. In contrast to Asian women, Western women have a low prevalence of LELC of the uterine cervix, and EBV genomes have not been identified.


To assess the presence of EBV in LELC of the uterine cervix in 4 white Western women.


We collected 4 cases of LELC of the uterine cervix between 1990 and 2000. We performed histologic and immunohistochemical analyses of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor samples. We amplified tumor DNA with polymerase chain reaction to detect EBV, human papillomavirus, and simian virus 40 DNAs.


Immunohistochemically, tumor cells were positive for cytokeratins and showed strong expression of p53 and MIB-1. Staining for the oncoprotein c-Erb-B2 was focally positive, and staining for Bcl-2 and progesterone receptors was negative. Only one case showed focal nuclear staining for estrogen receptors. All cases had a dense infiltrate of mature lymphocytes expressing T-cell antigens CD45RO, CD3, and CD8. Polymerase chain reaction analysis did not detect EBV, human papillomavirus, or simian virus 40 DNA sequences in any of the 4 cases. One case had positive serologic results for anti-EBV antibodies, indicating a mild or chronic infection.


LELC of the uterine cervix shows the immunohistochemical profile of an aggressive tumor in spite of its good prognosis, in which CD8 cytotoxic suppressor lymphocytes could play an important role. Based on our results, the role of EBV, human papillomavirus, or simian virus 40 in the pathogenesis of LELC of the uterine cervix in Western women remains unclear.

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