Intralesional EBV-DNA load as marker of prognosis for nasopharyngeal cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) is associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The clinical presentation and prognosis of NPC is well described, but not in relation to intralesional EBV-DNA load. In a retrospective design, 48 patients with NPC were examined. Patient history was re-evaluated, and diagnostic biopsies were re-examined. Furthermore, intralesional EBV-DNA was quantitated and HPV status determined. Cancer stage, disease-free survival (DFS), and overall survival (OS) were assessed. Of the 48 patients, 36 (75%) patients featured lesions that were positive for EBER (Epstein–Barr virus-encoded small RNA) and 40 (83%) were positive for EBV-DNA. Seven patients (15%) were HPV positive. The levels of EBV-DNA ranged from 0.0005 to 94617 copies/cell. An EBV-DNA load of more than 70 copies/cell was associated with a prolonged DFS for EBV-DNA positive patients treated with curative intent (p = 0.046). In conclusion, the EBV-DNA load in NPC lesions appears to vary greatly. For patients with EBV-DNA positive NPC treated with curative intent, an EBV-DNA load of more than 70 copies/cell is associated with a better outcome in terms of 7-year DFS.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cancer and Oncology
Original languageEnglish
Article number15432
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct
Publication categoryResearch

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