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February 14, 1972

Infectious Mononucleosis and Malignant Lymphoproliferative Diseases

JAMA. 1972;219(7):897-898. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03190330057013

The relationship of infectious mononucleosis (IM), a benign lymphoproliferative disease, to malignant lymphoproliferative disease has been a subject of great interest almost since the definition of IM as a distinct clinical and pathological syndrome 50 years ago. This interest has been heightened recently by evidence suggesting that a new herpesvirus (EB virus) may be the etiologic agent, long suspected to be a virus, in IM.1 (See QUESTION AND ANSWER, p 917.) Recent clinical and pathological observations and immunological studies have caused us to reexamine the possible relationship of IM to malignant diseases.

Seroepidemiologic studies with the EB virus have also led to speculation that this agent, perhaps in concert with another factor such as chronic malaria, may also be the etiologic agent in Burkitt's lymphoma. This eponym describes a clinicopathological entity initially noted to occur with high incidence in African children, but which has subsequently been described in many