Epstein-Barr virus and survival after Hodgkin disease in a population-based series of women

Christina A. Clarke, Sally L. Glaser, Ronald F. Dorfman, Risa Mann, Joseph A. Digiuseppe, Angela W. Prehn, Richard F. Ambinder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) positive Hodgkin disease (HD), as defined by the presence of EBV genes or gene products in the malignant cells, differs epidemiologically from EBV negative HD. However, survival patterns for EBV-defined HD have not been well studied. To determine if EBV status influenced survival time after HD, the authors investigated a large, population-based series of female patients. METHODS. For 311 female patients living in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area who were aged 19-79 years with HD diagnosed between mid-1988 and 1994, histopathologically rereviewed archived biopsy specimens were assayed for EBV with immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. The 53 subjects with EBV positive and the 258 with EBV negative HD were observed for vital status through 1998; overall survival was analyzed with Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards regression methods. RESULTS. Epstein-Barr virus positive HD patients were older, received diagnosis at a later stage, and were less likely to have nodular sclerosis histology than EBV negative patients. Deaths were reported for 21 (40%) EBV positive and 37 (14%) EBV negative patients. No survival differences were observed between EBV positive and negative women aged 19-44 years, but survival was significantly poorer in women aged 45-79 years with EBV positive HD. Regression analysis confirmed this strong negative effect of EBV positive status on survival (hazard ratio for death, 3.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-6.2) as unrelated to age, stage at diagnosis, or tumor histology. CONCLUSIONS. This study found a marked survival disadvantage for EBV positive HD in older but not young adult women. These findings suggest influences of both EBV status and age on HD survival, as well as pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1579-1587
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Age differences
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Females
  • Hodgkin disease
  • Overall survival
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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