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Cancer Res. 2003 May 1;63(9):2028-32.

Molecular characterization of circulating EBV DNA in the plasma of nasopharyngeal carcinoma and lymphoma patients.

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Department of Chemical Pathology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China.


Despite the increasing clinical applications of circulating EBV DNA analysis as a tumor marker, the molecular nature of these EBV DNA molecules remains unclear. We subjected plasma/serum samples of nasopharyngeal carcinoma and lymphoma patients to DNase digestion and ultracentrifugation and showed that circulating EBV DNA molecules are "naked" DNA fragments instead of being contained inside virions. We further showed that these EBV DNA fragments were relatively short, and 87% of them were shorter than 181 bp. These results provide fundamental information that may improve our understanding of the release of tumor-derived nucleic acids into the blood of cancer patients.

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