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Front Oncol. 2018 Apr 17;8:113. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2018.00113. eCollection 2018.

The Role of Epstein-Barr Virus in Cervical Cancer: A Brief Update.

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College of Medicine, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) belongs to the group of gamma-herpes viruses and was the first recognized human oncovirus. EBV is responsible for infectious mononucleosis and multiple lymphoid and epithelial malignancies including B-cell lymphomas (Burkitt lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder), various T-cell/NK lymphoproliferative disorders, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and gastric carcinoma, respectively. In addition, the presence of EBV has been documented in other cancers including breast, prostate, oral, and salivary gland carcinomas. The presence and role of EBV in cervical cancer and its precursor lesions (CIN) have also been described, but the results from the literature are inconsistent, and the causal role of EBV in cervical cancer pathogenesis has not been established yet. In the present review, we briefly surveyed and critically appraised the current literature on EBV in cervical cancer and its variants (lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma) as well as its precursor lesions (CIN). In addition, we discussed the possible interactions between EBV and human papilloma virus as well as between EBV and immune checkpoint regulators (PD-L1). Though further studies are needed, the available data suggest a possible causal relationship between EBV and cervical cancer pathogenesis.


Epstein–Barr virus; carcinogenesis; cervical cancer; human papilloma virus; virus

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