Molecular Epidemiology of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in Patients with Hematologic Malignancies

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Virology, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

2 Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Background: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with different malignant diseases, such as Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and lymphoproliferative disorders. Patients with hematologic malignancies by variable severity could be suspected for the infection with different types of this virus. This preliminary study reported the genotyping and related viral load of Epstein-Barr virus in Iranian patients with hematologic malignancies for estimation of possible factors affecting malignancy. Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of HL (n=20), NHL (n=29), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) (n=18) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) (n=12) were obtained. After DNA extraction, a nested-PCR and a conventional-PCR targeting EBNA-2 and EBNA-3C genes were performed. A real-time PCR assay for viral load quantitation carried out. Standard curve analysis used for evaluation of amplification specificity. Results: Of 79 included patients, 34 (43%) were EBV positive. There were 23.5% (8/34), 38.2% (13/34), 23.5% (8/34), 14.8% (5/34) in HL, NHL, ALL and CLL groups, respectively. Also, the main genotype was genotype I (91.2%) which it follows by 8.8% (3/34) genotype II. The real-time PCR assay showed the mean viral load ± std. deviation was 2.75×105 ± 1.202×106 copies/μg DNA and the higher viral load was seen in NHL patients. Conclusion: This preliminary investigation in Iran shows that the main EBV genotype into our region probably is genotype I (91.2%) which it is similar to others. We could not find any statistically significant association between the virus infection and viral load with any specific disease and patients’ demographic data. 


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