Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA in whole blood as a superior prognostic and monitoring factor than EBV-encoded small RNA in situ hybridization in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

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Abstract

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) status was retrospectively analysed by the use of EBV-encoded small RNA (EBER) in situ hybridization (ISH) and EBV DNA analysis in whole blood with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, to assess the clinical significance for diagnosis, prognostication, and monitoring of tumour burden. Three hundred and twenty-nine patients were retrospectively enrolled, with 232 patients being available for EBER ISH analysis, 189 patients for EBV DNA analysis, and 138 patients for both analyses. EBER was positive in 24 (10.3%) patients, and EBV DNA was positive in 18 (9.5%) patients; the two analyses had 92.8% concordance. Patients with pretreatment EBER positivity had worse overall survival (OS) than those without EBER positivity (p 0.03); the same pattern was observed for EBV DNA (p < 0.01). A significant p-value was also observed for OS when EBER and EBV DNA were combined (p < 0.01). On multivariate analysis, both EBV DNA (hazard ratio 3.71, 95% CI 1.78-7.74, p < 0.01) and EBER (hazard ratio 2.03, 95% CI 1.03-4.00, p 0.04) remained independent predictive factors for OS. Regarding the dynamic changes in copy number of elevated EBV DNA, the transformation from positive to negative after cycle 3 with chemotherapy may have the most capacity to distinguish a superior from an inferior outcome. These findings suggest that EBV DNA in whole blood has good concordance with EBER ISH, and that it may be a better prognostic and monitoring biomarker than EBER.

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Liang, J. H., Lu, T. X., Tian, T., Wang, L., Fan, L., Xu, J., … Xu, W. (2015). Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA in whole blood as a superior prognostic and monitoring factor than EBV-encoded small RNA in situ hybridization in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 21(6), 596–602. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmi.2015.02.017

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