Lymphomas of the oral soft tissues are not preferentially associated with latent or replicative Epstein-Barr virus

Carl M. Allen, Margaret L. Gulley, Kevin P. Sargeant, Douglas J. Grider, Phyllis A. Eagan, Diane D. Davey, Douglas D. Damm, Robert A. Robinson, Daniel P. Vandersteen, H. Stan McGuff, Peter M. Banks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives Epstein-Barr virus is periodically shed in the saliva of persons infected by the virus. Epstein-Barr virus has been implicated in the pathogenesis of certain subtypes of lymphoma, particularly high-grade lymphomas. Because high-grade subtypes represent the majority of lymphomas that arise in oral soft tissues, we hypothesized that Epstein-Barr virus might be preferentially associated with oral lymphomas. Study Design A series of 34 oral lymphomas were diagnosed according to the revised European-American classification scheme. They were examined for the presence of latent Epstein-Barr virus by EBER1 in situ hybridization and for expression of the Epstein-Barr virus replicative protein, BZLF1, by immunohistochemistry. Results Epstein-Barr virus EBER1 transcripts were detected in 11 of 31 oral lymphomas including 7 of 10 AIDS-related lymphomas and only 4 of 21 lymphomas that occurred in nonimmunocompromised persons. The Epstein-Barr virus-containing lymphomas were all high-grade histologic subtypes, that is, diffuse large cell, immunoblastic, or Burkitt's lymphomas. In contrast, Epstein-Barr virus was not detected in any of five low-grade oral lymphomas. In the single case of T-cell lymphoma in this study, EBER1 was expressed in the tumor cells. A switch from viral latency to replication, as measured by EBV BZLF1 expression, was identified in rare lymphoma cells in only four cases. This rate of viral replication was not higher than what has been reported in lymphomas arising at other anatomic sites. Although one of our lymphomas arose at a site of previous oral hairy leukoplakia, there was no other evidence that Epstein-Barr virus replication predisposed to development or persistence of oral lymphomas. Conclusions These data suggest that even though Epstein-barr virus is frequently found in oral secretions, neither latent nor replicative Epstein-Barr virus is present more commonly in oral lymphomas than in lymphomas arising in other anatomic sites, when controlling for immunodeficiency status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-431
Number of pages7
JournalOral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology and
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Lymphomas of the oral soft tissues are not preferentially associated with latent or replicative Epstein-Barr virus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this