Epstein-Barr virus in Hodgkin's disease: Correlation of risk factors and disease characteristics with molecular evidence of viral infection

Bethany G. Sleckman, Peter M. Mauch, Richard F. Ambinder, Risa Mann, Geraldine S. Pinkus, Marshall E. Kadin, Bradford Sherburne, Antonio Perez-Atayde, Ibou Thior, Nancy Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Risk factors suggestive of relatively late exposure to EBV have been consistently associated with Hodgkin's disease (HD) in younger adults. In addition, evidence of EBV infection has been found in the Reed-Sternberg cells themselves in about one-third to one-half of all HD cases. However, no study yet published has correlated these childhood social environment risk factors with the presence of EBV in Hodgkin's tumor cells. We examined whether EBV-positive HD occurs in those patients whose childhood environment would predispose them to relatively late exposure to EBV. The study population consisted of 102 cases of mixed cellularity (MC; n = 25) or nodular sclerosing (n = 77) HD. Samples that tested positive for either EBV- encoded RNA or latent membrane protein or both were considered EBV-positive. Of the 102 cases, 83 completed a questionnaire regarding childhood social environment. The association with EBV-positivity was estimated by the odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Twenty-two percent of the cases were EBV-positive. These cases were more likely to be MC (OR, 6.2; CI, 2.3-16.3) and male (OR, 3.4; CI, 1.3-9.0). History of infectious mononucleosis (IM) was not predictive of EBV-positivity, with only 3 of 14 such patients being EBV-positive (P = 0.82). Contrary to our hypothesis, no association between EBV and childhood environment risk factors was identified. The association of EBV with MC histology and male gender agrees with previous reports. The most intriguing finding was the dissociation between IM history and EBV-positivity, in that almost all of the cases with a history of IM were EBV-negative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1121
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology

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