Caister Academic Press

Epstein-Barr Virus and the Pathogenesis of Lymphoma

Paul G. Murray and Claire Shannon-Lowe
from: DNA Tumour Viruses: Virology, Pathogenesis and Vaccines (Edited by: Sally Roberts). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2018) Pages: 119-138.


Burkitt lymphoma (BL), first recognized by Denis Burkitt in 1958, is a high grade B cell malignancy particularly prevalent in young boys in tropical Africa and New Guinea. The high incidence of BL in areas of holo-endemic malaria prompted the search for a tumour-causing infectious agent transmitted by mosquitoes. This search, led by Anthony Epstein and co-workers, resulted in the discovery in cell lines derived from BL biopsies, of a gamma herpesvirus, later referred to as the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Subsequently, EBV was shown to be present in the tumour cells of patients with other forms of B cell lymphoma, such as Hodgkin lymphoma and post-transplant lymphoma, as well as in natural killer/T cell (NK/T) cell lymphomas and in several epithelial cancers such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma and gastric carcinoma. Understanding how EBV contributes to the development of these different forms of cancer has provided fundamental insights into the underlying mechanisms responsible for driving oncogenic processes as well as highlighting opportunities for prophylactic and therapeutic intervention. This chapter will summarise current knowledge of the role of EBV in lymphomagenesis, highlighting the importance of co-factors, including disorders of immunity, which can disrupt the delicate virus-host balance that otherwise ensures asymptomatic virus persistence in normal people read more ...
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