Nasal natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphoma (NKTCL) and chronic active Epstein–Barr virus infection (CAEBV) are relatively frequent, especially in Asia, and are poor in prognosis. Both diseases are proliferative diseases of NK/T cells that show highly complicated karyotypes, suggesting the involvement of chromosomal instability. ATR is an important gene for DNA damage response and chromosomal stability. To evaluate the role of ATR gene alterations in the pathogenesis of NKTCL and CAEBV, the whole coding region of the ATR gene was examined in cell lines derived from NKTCL and CAEBV, as well as tumor samples from patients. ATR alterations were detected in two of eight NKTCL and in one of three CAEBV lines. Most aberrant transcripts observed were deletions resulting from aberrant splicing. ATR alterations were also detected in four of 10 NKTCL clinical samples. Both NKTCL and CAEBV cell lines with ATR alterations showed a delay or abrogation in repair of ionizing radiation-induced DNA double-strand breaks and ultraviolet-induced DNA single-strand breaks, and both exhibited a defect in p53 accumulation. These findings show that alterations in the ATR gene result in an abnormal response to DNA double-strand break and single-strand break repair, suggesting a role for ATR gene alterations in NKTCL lymphomagenesis. (Cancer Sci 2006; 97: 605–610)