Research Papers:

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded small RNAs (EBERs) associated with poor prognosis of head and neck carcinomas

Turunen Aaro _, Rautava Jaana, Grénman Reidar, Syrjänen Kari and Syrjänen Stina

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:27328-27338. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16033

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Aaro Turunen1, Jaana Rautava1,2, Reidar Grénman3, Kari Syrjänen4, Stina Syrjänen1,2

1Department of Oral Pathology, Institute of Dentistry, University of Turku, Turku, Finland

2Department of Pathology, Turku University Central Hospital, Turku, Finland

3Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland

4Department of Clinical Research, Biohit HealthCare Oyj, Helsinki, Finland

Correspondence to:

Aaro Turunen, email: [email protected]

Keywords: Epstein-Barr virus, EBV, head and neck cancer, HPV, HSV-1

Received: November 30, 2016    Accepted: February 12, 2017    Published: March 09, 2017


BACKGROUND: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the main cause of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), also found in other head and neck carcinomas (HNSCCs) where its role remains controversial.

RESULTS: EBV was found in 80% and 21% of the samples with PCR and ISH (in cancer cells), respectively. Eight of ISH-positive samples were not NPCs. EBER-RNA detection in carcinoma cells was associated with worse prognosis, whether or not NPCs were included. HPV/EBV and HSV/HPV coinfections associated with a shorter survival. LMP-1 expression, positive in 51% of samples did not correlate with the disease outcome.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed EBV in 73 HNSCC samples with a known HPV and HSV-1 status, using in situ hybridization (ISH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) for EBV-early transcripts (EBER) and LMP-1 protein, respectively. EBV-DNA was detected with a Luminex-based method. The results were correlated with HPV-status and disease outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: EBV is transcriptionally active in NPC cells but also in a subgroup of other HNSCCs.

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