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Epstein-Barr Virus Linked to Poor Outcome in Lymphoma

In those with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, the virus almost triples risk of death

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma who are infected with the Epstein-Barr virus have almost a threefold higher risk of death than their counterparts without the virus, according to a study in the Aug. 1 issue of Blood.

Won Seog Kim, M.D., Ph.D., of the Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues analyzed 380 tissue samples from patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, of which 34 (9 percent) were found to be positive for the Epstein-Barr virus.

Patients with Epstein-Barr were more likely to be over age 60 and at a more advanced stage of their disease with more than one extra-nodal involvement. As well as having a lower response to treatment, they also had significantly poorer overall and progression-free survival rates. Nongerminal center B-cell-like patients with diffuse lymphoma had a 2.9-fold increase in risk of mortality if they were infected with the virus.

The authors concluded that, based on their data, patients who test positive for the Epstein-Barr virus have a "more rapidly deteriorating clinical course with poorer treatment response, survival and progression-free survival. Thus, more effective treatment should be adopted in this particular subset of patients with possible addition of Epstein-Barr virus-targeted therapy to conventional chemotherapy."

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