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Lab Invest. 1992 Jul;67(1):5-23.

Epstein-Barr virus-associated lymphoproliferative disorders.

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Department of Pathology and Microbiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.


Herein we have provided a panorama of the clinical, histopathologic, and molecular biologic mechanisms of EBV-induced LPD particularly in immunosuppressed individuals. A listing of EBV-related diseases is shown in Table 4. We have stressed the frequent need to use multiple diagnostic methods for detecting EBV genome, particularly in immunodeficient patients who may fail to mount antibody responses to EBV. Given that we now recognize some of the immunocompromised patient populations at high risk for EBV-induced LPD, and have developed techniques for detecting EBV genome and early LPD, we may eventually prevent the occurrence of some of these life-threatening diseases. For example, we have learned to recognize and distinguish hepatic allograft rejection from EBV-induced LPD in hepatic biopsies (154). A periportal and sinusoidal infiltrate of small and large lymphoid cells, immunoblasts, and plasma cells, alert us to stain frozen liver sections for EBNA. Finding EBV guides the clinicians to reducing immunosuppression which then allows the restoration of immunosurveillance against the EBV-infected B cells. Whether an EBV vaccine can be successful in immunosuppressed individuals remains to be seen. As for other vaccines, many logistical problems prevail, such as the early occurrence of EBV infection during infancy in regions where BL is endemic. Surely, with the menacing threat that approximately 10% of patients with AIDS will develop NHL, new anti-viral therapy against EBV and the causative agent of AIDS and HIV, will be developed. The pathologist and virologist play essential roles in the recognition of EBV infection by performing clinical laboratory determinations. The characteristic histopathologic features of EBV-induced LPD are now recognized and when confirmed with molecular hybridization and immunofluorescent techniques will provide a solid diagnostic approach and, thus, a foundation for developing a sound therapeutic strategy.

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