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Br J Haematol. 2005 May;129(4):511-9.

Phenotype and frequency of Epstein-Barr virus-infected cells in pretreatment blood samples from patients with Hodgkin lymphoma.

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Leukaemia Research Fund Virus Centre, Institute of Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, Bearsden Road, Glasgow G61 1QH, Scotland, UK.


An accumulating body of data suggests that the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a lymphotropic herpesvirus, is involved in the pathogenesis of a proportion of cases of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). In this study, we showed that the frequency of circulating EBV-infected cells was significantly higher (P < 0.001) in pretreatment blood samples from EBV-associated cases when compared with non-EBV-associated cases. We further showed that in patients with EBV-associated disease, the virus persisted in the peripheral blood in memory B cells. This phenotype is consistent with that seen in healthy seropositive controls, post-transplant patients and patients with acute infectious mononucleosis. The data suggest that an increased frequency of EBV carrying B cells in peripheral blood is associated with EBV-associated HL.

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