Pathology and Molecular Pathology of Epstein-Barr Virus-Associated Gastric Carcinoma

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Abstract

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the first virus that was identified in a human neoplastic cell in 1963 Epstein 1994). More than 90% of the world population is infected with EBV before adolescence, and it is thought that a small population develops EBV-associated malignancy in an endemic manner, such as Burkitt’s lymphoma in equatorial Africa Osato 1998) and nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) in Southern China Raab-Traub 1992). However, recent advances in molecular biological techniques have demonstrated that an unexpectedly wide variety of neoplasms in the general population is associated with EBV infection (Anagnostopoulos and Hummel 1996), among which EBV-associated gastric carcinoma (EBVaGC) is the most common with a worldwide distribution. In Japan, for example, more than 5,000 patients are estimated to develop gastric carcinoma annually in association with EBV (less than 10% of total gastric cancer) (Fukayama et al. 1998).