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Abstract

Seven American juvenile patients with undifferentiated or nonkeratinizing nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) were examined serially for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific antibody spectra and titers in sera. At diagnosis, all showed antibody patterns characteristic of NPC: i.e., high titers of IgG antibodies to viral capsid antigen (VCA) and to the diffuse (D) component of the early antigen complex. Six patients had IgA antibodies to VCA, and four to the D component. In the patients who responded to therapy with complete and maintained remissions, the IgG antibodies to D and the IgA antibodies to VCA and D decreased to undetectable levels within 12 to 30 months. By contrast, of the four patients who responded only transiently to therapy, three showed substantial increases and one continuously high titers of IgG anti-D and IgA anti-VCA. The increases in antibody titers preceded clinical recognition of recurrent tumors by 1 to 6 months. Three of these patients have died and the fourth is alive with disease. These data indicate that American juvenile NPC does not differ from the adult disease observed anywhere in the world. They reaffirm the potential usefulness of EBV-specific serology in the diagnosis and prognosis of NPC and the monitoring of patients following therapy.