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Blood. 1995 Nov 15;86(10):3922-9.

Presence of Epstein-Barr virus and strain type assignment in Argentine childhood Hodgkin's disease.

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  • 1Laboratory of Virology, Ricardo Gutierrez Children's Hospital, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been implicated in the etiology of a large number of malignancies. Most recently several studies have linked EBV to Hodgkin's disease. In this report, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues were collected retrospectively from 41 children with Hodgkin's disease treated at our hospital. Lymph node biopsies were examined for the presence of two virus-encoded latent proteins: latent membrane protein (LMP) and Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen-2 (EBNA-2), in Reed-Sternberg (RS) and Hodgkin (H) cells, by peroxidase immunolabeling. Nonisotopic Epstein-Barr encoded RNAs (EBERs) in situ hybridization was also performed and positive labeling in malignant cells was detected. Twenty specimens were EBER+/LMP+, 2 were EBER+/LMP-, and 19 were EBER-/LMP-. However, none of the 41 cases expressed EBNA-2. Twenty-two of 41 (54%) cases were EBV positive including 2 of 6 with lymphocyte predominance, 19 of 25 with mixed cellularity, 0 of 9 with nodular sclerosis, and 1 of 1 with lymphocyte depletion. In the age range of 2 to 6 years, 14 of 17 (82%) samples were EBV-positive, whereas only 8 of 24 (33%) samples from the age range of 7 to 15 years contained EBV. (P = .004), a two-tailed Fisher's test). In 17 samples, polymerase chain reaction amplification was performed using strain specific primers for exon sequences of the EBNA-3C gene of EBV. From 12 positive samples, 8 contained EBV-A and 4 EBV-B. These results support the hypothesis that EBV contributes to the pathogenesis of pediatric Hodgkin's disease, particularly in mixed cellularity Hodgkin's disease and in the younger group.

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