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Am J Pathol. 1990 Jul;137(1):13-8.

High incidence of Epstein-Barr virus genomes in Hodgkin's disease.

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  • 1Institute of Pathology, Klinikum Steglitz, Free University of Berlin, West Germany.


Tissue specimens from 198 cases of Hodgkin's disease and 151 non-Hodgkin lymphomas, as well as 34 nonmalignant lymph node biopsies were examined for the presence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA by polymerase chain reaction. Epstein-Barr virus-specific DNA sequences were detected in DNA extracts from frozen and/or paraffin-embedded tissues of 58% of Hodgkin's disease cases. High and low grade non-Hodgkin lymphomas as well as chronic lymphocytic leukemia biopsies contained EBV DNA in 26%, 14%, and 7% of the cases, respectively. Ten percent of the control lymph nodes with normal histology were EBV positive. In Hodgkin's disease biopsies, subsequent in situ hybridization revealed an exclusive localization of the viral DNA in the tumor cells. These findings suggest an involvement of EBV in the pathogenesis of Hodgkin's disease in a substantial proportion of cases.

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