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Epstein-Barr virus in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia: A pilot study *

The objective of this study was to assess the incidence and the clinical significance of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)/small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL). Patients with CLL/SLL who presented at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center over a 2-year period and had available marrow paraffin blocks were studied for evidence of EBV infection using a highly specific in-situ hybridization assay for detection of EBV encoded RNA (EBERs). Results were analysed in relation to other presenting characteristics and outcome. Thirty-two patients were examined. EBERs were detected in the bone marrow of 12 of 32 (38%) CLL/SLL marrows vs 0 of 20 normal marrows (p = 0.002). EBERs were observed in sporadic granulocytes alone or in addition to its presence in lymphocytes in nine of the 12 EBV-positive patients. EBERs were detected less frequently in patients with Rai stage 0 – 1 disease (20%) compared with Rai stage 2 – 4 (66%; p = 0.008). EBER-positive patients tended to have higher lactate dehydrogenase levels (p = 0.053). The 10-year survival rate was 22% vs 58% for patients with and without discernible EBERs (log-rank, p = 0.08). Evidence of EBV infection was found in 38% of patients with CLL/SLL. Despite the small number of patients tested, discernable EBERs were significantly more common in individuals with more advanced Rai stage and there was a trend toward shorter survival in patients in whom EBV EBERs were discerned. Larger studies are needed to determine the prognostic value and role of EBV infection in patients with CLL/SLL.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 11-06-2009
Authors: Apostolia-Maria Tsimberidou?1, Michael J. Keating?1, Carlos E. Bueso-Ramos?2 and Razelle Kurzrock, MD1?
Source: Leukemia & Lymphoma 2006, Vol. 47, No. 5, Pages 827-836