Epstein-barr virus immune response in high-risk nasopharyngeal carcinoma families in Greenland

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Undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma is associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. Presence of EBV IgA antibodies is rare among healthy individuals and is used as a marker of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in high-incidence populations. Reasons for EBV IgA seropositivity are unknown, but high EBV IgA levels have been found among unaffected close family members and spouses to nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients in Chinese populations. In Greenland, a nasopharyngeal carcinoma-high-incidence area, we compared EBV serology and viral load in high-risk nasopharyngeal carcinoma family members (N = 20) and controls without nasopharyngeal carcinoma-affected relatives (N = 90). There was no significant difference in EBV viral loads between relatives and controls, and EBV was detected in plasma in 5.0% of relatives and 11.4% of controls. There was no significant difference in EBV serology, but the seroprevalence of EBV viral capsid antigen (VCA) IgA was high in both relatives (25.0%) and controls (20.5%). Compared with anti-VCA IgA-negative, anti-VCA IgA-positive individuals had significantly higher EBV viral loads in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) (P < 0.01). The very high prevalence of anti-VCA IgA indicates that this antibody is unsuitable for nasopharyngeal carcinoma screening among Inuits.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1877-1881
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007

    Research areas

  • Epstein-Barr virus, Immunology, Inuit, Nasopharyngeal carcinoma

ID: 247936130