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Sao Paulo Med J. 2006 May 4;124(3):154-7.

Detection of free circulating Epstein-Barr virus DNA in plasma of patients with Hodgkin's disease.

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Hematology Service, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, and Instituto Nacional do Câncer, CEP 22230-001 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Free circulating Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA is often present in the plasma of Hodgkins disease patients. The aim here was to evaluate the prevalence of this finding, its correlation with the immunohistochemical expression of LMP-1 (latent membrane protein 1) and the influence of other clinical factors.


Prospective study in two public tertiary institutions: Hematology Service, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, and Oncology Service, Instituto Nacional do Câncer, Rio de Janeiro.


A cohort of 30 patients with newly diagnosed Hodgkins disease was studied. The control group consisted of 13 healthy adult volunteers. EBV DNA was determined by conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR).


The median age was 28 years, and 16 patients were women. Advanced disease was present in 19 patients, and six were HIV-positive. EBV DNA was present in the plasma of 13 patients and one control (43% versus 8%, p = 0.03). EBV DNA prevalence was higher in HIV-positive patients (100% versus 29%, p = 0.0007) and those with advanced disease (63% versus 9%, p = 0.006). Among HIV-negative patients alone, EBV DNA prevalence remained higher in those with advanced disease. EBV DNA was found in 10/11 patients with LMP-1 expression in the lymph nodes, and in 3/19 without LMP-1 expression (kappa coefficient = 0.72).


EBV DNA was present in 91% of patients with EBV-associated Hodgkins disease, and in all patients with HIV-associated Hodgkins disease. EBV DNA prevalence was higher in patients with advanced disease, irrespective of HIV status.

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