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June 7, 1971

Antibody to Epstein-Barr Virus in American Patients With Carcinoma of the Nasopharynx

Author Affiliations

From the John Collins Warren Laboratories of the Huntington Memorial Hospital of Harvard University at Massachusetts General Hospital (Dr. Goldman), the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (Drs. Goodman and Miller), and Harvard Medical School (Drs. Goldman, Goodman, and Miller), Boston. Dr. Goldman is now with Hammersmith Hospital, London.

JAMA. 1971;216(10):1618-1622. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180360064009

Serum antibody to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was measured in 21 patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), in 3 patients with lymphoma in the nasopharynx, and in control groups. Fifteen of 21 (71.4%) of the NPC patients had high anti-EBV antibody titers ([unk]1:160), whereas only six of 140 (4.3%) had such titers in the combined control groups; the geometric mean titer (GMT) of the NPC patients was 1:239, compared with a GMT in the lymphoma patients of 1:20 and a GMT in the control groups of 1:29. The NPC patients were categorized by the histologic type of their tumors, but no relationship between tumor histologic type and antibody titer was discernible. The data support the concepts that EBV appears to be specifically associated with NPC (as well as with Burkitt's lymphoma and infectious mononucleosis) and that such a relationship may well be causal.