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J Virol. 2005 May;79(9):5875-9.

Induction of lytic Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection by synergistic action of rituximab and dexamethasone renders EBV-positive lymphoma cells more susceptible to ganciclovir cytotoxicity in vitro and in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Hematology and Respiratory Medicine, Kochi Medical School, Kochi University, Kochi 783-8505, Japan.


The purposeful induction of the lytic form of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection combined with ganciclovir (GCV) treatment has been advocated as a novel strategy for EBV-positive B-cell lymphoma. We demonstrated that rituximab had a synergistic effect with dexamethasone on induction of the lytic EBV infection in CD20-positive lymphoma cells. Addition of GCV to the dexamethasone/rituximab-treated cells was more effective than dexamethasone/rituximab alone in killing EBV-positive lymphoma cells in vitro and in lymphoma-bearing nude mice but not in EBV-negative cells. These data suggest that induction of the lytic EBV infection with dexamethasone/rituximab in combination with GCV could be a potential virally targeted therapy for EBV-associated B-cell lymphoma.

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