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Keywords:

  • Epstein-Barr virus;
  • Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen (EBNA)-2;
  • pyothorax-associated lymphoma

Abstract

Pyothorax-associated lymphoma (PAL) is a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which develops in the pleural cavity of patients who have had pyothorax for over 20 years, and is strongly associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. The expression of latent genes, especially EBV nuclear antigen-2 (EBNA-2), influences the growth characteristics and malignant features of EBV-infected cells. Here, the effect of EBNA-2 expression on clinical features was examined in 13 cases of PAL. The EBNA-2 transcript was detected in 8 cases but was absent in 5. There was a significant difference in survival between patients with the transcripts and those without: the 1-year survival rate was 87.5 and 0%, respectively (p < 0.01). There was a discrepancy between EBNA-2 expression and EBNA promoter usage in 6 cases. The Cp/Wp promoter was used in 3 EBNA-2-negative cases, whereas the Qp promoter or multiple promoters were used in 3 EBNA-2-positive cases. Analysis of PAL cell lines provided a clue as to the mechanism underlying the discrepancy between EBNA-2 expression and EBNA promoter usage. Loss of EBNA-2 expression, irrespective of the latency pattern, is correlated with a poor prognosis, suggesting that down-regulation of the EBNA-2 expression could be selection pressure for the progression of PAL. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.