Significance of circulating Epstein-Barr virus DNA monitoring after remission in patients with extranodal natural killer T cell lymphoma
Circulating Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-DNA has been established as a useful parameter for diagnosis and predicting prognosis in patients with extranodal natural killer T cell lymphoma (ENKTL); however, the role of monitoring of circulating EBV-DNA after complete remission (CR) is not well established. From January 2008 to August 2016, 328 ENKTL patents were enrolled in 2 lymphoma cohorts. Of 171 patients achieved a CR, 81 had available monitoring data for circulating EBV-DNA with negative post-treatment EBV-DNA. Measurement of circulating EBV-DNA was performed from unfractionated whole blood and calculated according to WHO international standards. Median duration of follow-up was 40.4 months. In 31 of the 81 patients (38.8%), circulating EBV-DNA was detected at least once during follow-up, and 16 of these patients (51.6%) experienced relapse. In contrast, only 7 out of 50 (14.0%) patients with consistently undetectable circulating EBV-DNA experienced relapse (p < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, positive conversion of circulating EBV-DNA was the only independent prognostic factor for occurrence of relapse (HR = 6.552, p < 0.001), progression-free survival (HR = 4.549, p = 0.01), and overall survival (HR = 8.726, p < 0.001). Patients with a higher level of circulating EBV-DNA than 3310 IU/mL (3.52 log10 IU/mL) showed a strong tendency to relapse (73.3 vs. 31.3%, p = 0.019). In conclusion, positive conversion of circulating EBV-DNA was a valuable indicator of relapse and inferior survival, especially if the level was higher than 3310 IU/mL in ENKTL patients had achieved CR. Close follow-up is necessary for patients developed detectable circulating EBV-DNA after remission.
KeywordsNK/T cell lymphoma EBV PCR Biomarker Relapse
Compliance with ethical standards
The study was reviewed and approved by the institutional review board at Samsung Medical Center. All procedures were performed in accordance with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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