Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Epstein-Barr Virus Predicts Outcome In Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

Date:
September 23, 2008
Source:
American Association for Cancer Research
Summary:
Researchers in Hong Kong report that testing patient blood for DNA from Epstein-Barr virus during treatment for nasopharyngeal carcinoma effectively predicts clinical outcome. A biomarker test like this, when perfected, could identify patients whose treatment could be intensified after a month or so of standard therapy as well as those who might benefit from lighter treatment.

Researchers in Hong Kong report that testing patient blood for DNA from Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) during treatment for nasopharyngeal carcinoma effectively predicts clinical outcome. A biomarker test like this, when perfected, could identify patients whose treatment could be intensified after a month or so of standard therapy as well as those who might benefit from lighter treatment.

Related Articles


The study, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development meeting held here September 22-25, highlights the strong link between the virus and this cancer, which is common in Southern China and also develops in Chinese immigrants It further suggests that genetic levels of EBV should be assessed before and during treatment, not just after therapy, as it is now.

"We found that patients with undetectable EBV DNA mid-course through treatment had a greatly reduced risk of developing cancer recurrence two years after treatment, compared with patients with detectable EBV DNA," said the study's senior investigator, Anthony Chan, M.D., director of the Cancer Center at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Although EBV is associated with nasopharynx cancer, which develops in the upper area of the throat, a causal relationship hasn't been established, Chan says. Still, cancer cells contain EBV genetic material, which leaks into the bloodstream and can be detected using DNA tests. "That means a larger number of nasopharynx cancer cells in the body would give rise to a larger amount of EBV genetic material in the blood circulation, and so the EBV DNA level is a marker of the extent of cancer."

Researchers know that the amount of EBV DNA found after treatment is a recognized prognostic marker of survival because residual detectable EBV DNA "implies incomplete killing of cancer and thus a poor prognosis," Chan said. The question the researchers investigated is whether there is a way to identify patients with such a viral load before treatment is finished so that more aggressive therapy might be instituted.

"We need to know what to do for those patients with residual EBV. These patients usually do not have clinical evidence of cancer at that point and the residual cancer burden is at a microscopic level. Any extra treatment would be for undetectable cancer, and we need to prove that such treatment has an impact on improving survival," Chan said.

In this study, researchers tested 108 patients with advanced stage cancer for EBV DNA before the start of treatment, after a month of therapy, and then within three months after completion of treatment, and matched these levels to outcomes two-years later. They found that 94 percent of patients had detectable EBV DNA before therapy, but that it became undetectable in 54 percent of patients midway through treatment. The 42 percent of patients who had both low pretreatment and undetectable four-week viral levels constituted a "good risk group" because their recurrence rate was only nine percent.

Conversely, they found that levels detected after four weeks of treatment correlated with detectable post-treatment amounts, with an almost threefold greater risk of cancer recurrence and threefold higher risk of distant metastasis at two years.

"It is possible to test for EBV DNA levels at any time point, so based on further validation studies, we may be able to use biomarker levels at several time points to guide clinical therapy," Chan said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Association for Cancer Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Association for Cancer Research. "Epstein-Barr Virus Predicts Outcome In Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080923164529.htm>.
American Association for Cancer Research. (2008, September 23). Epstein-Barr Virus Predicts Outcome In Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080923164529.htm
American Association for Cancer Research. "Epstein-Barr Virus Predicts Outcome In Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080923164529.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins