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Gastric Cancer. 2015 Apr;18(2):246-55. doi: 10.1007/s10120-014-0376-9. Epub 2014 Apr 27.

Is gastric lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma a special subtype of EBV-associated gastric carcinoma? New insight based on clinicopathological features and EBV genome polymorphisms.

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Department of Pathology, The Third Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, No. 600 Tianhe Road, Guangzhou, 510630, China.



Gastric lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma (LELC) is a rare entity that is closely associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). However, the EBV latency pattern and genome polymorphisms in gastric LELC have not been systematically explored.


The clinicopathological features, EBV latency pattern and genome polymorphisms of EBV-positive gastric LELC in Guangzhou, southern China were investigated and compared with those of ordinary EBV-associated gastric carcinoma (EBVaGC) in the same area.


Ten (1.42%) of 702 gastric carcinoma cases were identified as gastric LELC, in which eight (80%) cases were EBV-positive. The clinicopathological characteristics and EBV latency pattern of EBV-positive gastric LELC were similar to those of ordinary EBVaGC. In EBV genotype analysis, type A strain, type F, I, mut-W1/I, XhoI- and del-LMP1 variants were predominant among EBV-positive gastric LELCs, accounting for eight (100%), six (75%), eight (100%), seven (87.5%), five (62.5%) and six (75%) cases, respectively, which are similar to those in ordinary EBVaGC. For EBNA1 polymorphisms, the V-leu and P-ala subtypes were predominant in EBV-positive gastric LELC, which is different from the predominant V-val subtype in ordinary EBVaGC. EBV-positive gastric LELC has a favorable prognosis when compared to ordinary EBVaGC (median survival time 43.0 vs. 18.0 months).


Gastric LELC is strongly associated with EBV and EBV-positive gastric LELC should be regarded as a special subtype of EBVaGC. This, to our best knowledge, is the first time in the world that the EBV latency pattern and genome polymorphisms of EBV-positive gastric LELC are systematically revealed.

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