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Immunol Rev. 1997 Jun;157:195-216.

Biology and adoptive cell therapy of Epstein-Barr virus-associated lymphoproliferative disorders in recipients of marrow allografts.

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Marrow Transplantation Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York 10021, USA.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is an ubiquitous herpesvirus which is carried as a latent infection of B lymphocytes and salivary gland epithelial cells in over 90% of normal adults. Latently infected EBV-transformed B cells circulate at low frequency in the blood for the life of the host. These transformed B cells stimulate a heterogeneous and complex host cell response, ultimately leading to the development and maintenance of high frequencies of HLA-restricted T cells specific for the EBV-encoded nuclear antigens EBNA2-EBNA6 and the latency membrane proteins LMP-1 and LMP-2. Responses to latent EBV-encoded proteins are hierarchical with responses to certain epitopes predominating, dependent upon the HLA genotype of the host. Profound suppression of T-cell immunity may permit the emergence of polyclonal, oligoclonal or monoclonal EBV antigen-expressing lymphoproliferative disorders or malignant B-cell lymphomas expressing these latent EBV antigens. Adoptive transfer of small numbers of peripheral blood mononuclear cells or HLA-partially matched T cells from in vitro expanded EBV-specific T-cell lines derived from a seropositive marrow donor has induced durable regressions of bulky, widely metastatic monoclonal EBV lymphomas in a high proportion of cases. This review describes the current state of knowledge and hypothesis regarding the biology and immunology of EBV infection in the normal host, the features of donor, host and virus which contribute to the development of EBV-associated lymphoproliferative diseases and the mechanisms whereby they are controlled by adoptive transfer of immune T cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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