Epstein-Barr Virus DNA Load in Nasopharyngeal Brushings and Whole Blood in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Patients before and after Treatment

Marlinda Adham, Astrid E. Greijer, Sandra A. W. M. Verkuijlen, Hedy Juwana, Sabine Fleig, Lisnawati Rachmadi, Octavia Malik, A. N. Kurniawan, Averdi Roezin, Soehartati Gondhowiardjo, Djumhana Atmakusumah, Servi J. C. Stevens, Bambang Hermani, I. Bing Tan, Jaap M. Middeldorp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is consistently associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and highly prevalent in Indonesia. EBV-DNA load can be used for early diagnosis and may have prognostic value. In this study, EBV-DNA load was evaluated in minimal invasive nasopharyngeal (NP) brushings and whole blood for initial diagnosis and therapy assessment against the standard-of-care diagnosis by biopsy with EBV-RISH and standard EBV-IgA serology.NP brushings and blood samples were collected from 289 consecutive ENT patients suspected of NPCs and 53 local healthy controls. EBV-DNA load was quantified by real-time PCR and serology by peptide-based EBV-IgA ELISA. Tissue biopsies were examined by routine histochemistry and by EBER RNA in situ hybridization.Repeated NP brushing was well tolerated by patients and revealed high viral load in the 228 NPC cases at diagnosis than 61 non-NPC cancer cases and healthy controls (P <0.001). The diagnostic value of EBV-DNA load in blood and EBV-IgA serology was inferior to the NP brush results. The level of EBV-DNA load in brushes of patients with NPC was not related to T, N, or M stage, whereas elevated EBV-DNA load in blood correlated with N and M stage. EBV-DNA levels in brushings and whole blood showed a significant reduction at 2 months after treatment (P = 0.001 and P = 0.005, respectively), which was not reflected in EBV-IgA serology.NP brush sampling combined with EBV-DNA load analysis is a minimal invasive and well-tolerated diagnostic procedure, suited for initial diagnosis and follow-up monitoring of NPCs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2175-2186
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2013


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