Lymphoma: The Epstein-Barr Connection (Mono) Is Strong.

Main symptoms of IM #3whatare MedicineNet - in...
Image via Wikipedia

We have a celebrity, Andy Whitfield, that has passed from non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma.  His tragedy is an opportunity to look at the illness.

Both Hodgkins and non-Hodgkins lymphomas have a strong association with epstein-barr virus.  Between 20 and 40% of tumors exhibit the DNA of epstein-barr within the tumors.  A prior history of infectious mononucleosis greatly increases the risk of lymphoma.  But to my knowledge very few lymphoma patients are either tested for or treated for active epstein-barr titers during their lymphoma treatment.

If the disease is in some way associated with the virus, then it makes sense to check for viral activity throughout treatment, especially during the use of chemotherapy drugs.  Such drugs may shrink the tumors while weakening the immune system and leave a patient open to renewed infection and treatment failure as the tumors are given a break.  It just makes sense to monitor EBV titers.

Cancer J. 2009 Mar-Apr;15(2):117-23.

Current insight on trends, causes, and mechanisms of Hodgkin’s

Caporaso NE, Goldin LR, Anderson WF, Landgren O.

SourceDivision of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National
Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) has a unique and distinct history, epidemiology,
treatment, and biology. A viral agent or infectious agent has long been
considered as the etiologic agent and Epstein-Barr virus is the main candidate
for the infectious agent causing HL; however, Epstein-Barr virus genome is
found within the tumor in only about 20% to 40% of HL cases with a prior
diagnosis of infectious mononucleosis. Recently, autoimmune and related
conditions have drawn attention to a potential role for immune-related and
inflammatory conditions in the etiology and pathogenesis of the malignancy.
Evidence from multiply-affected families, a twin study, a case-control study,
and population-based registry studies implicate genetic factors. Data from
Eastern Asia and among Chinese immigrants in North America indicate increasing
incidence trends for HL being associated with westernization. These results
emphasize an interaction between environmental and genetic risk factors in HL.


Leuk Lymphoma. 2003;44 Suppl 3:S27-32.

Risk factors for Hodgkin’s lymphoma by EBV status and
significance of detection of EBV genomes in serum of patients with
EBV-associated Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Jarrett RF.

SourceLRF Virus Centre, Institute of Comparative Medicine,
University of Glasgow, G61 1QH, UK.


Epstein Barr virus (EBV) is associated with around one-third
of Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) cases and this association is believed to be causal.
In these EBV-associated cases, there is a clonal EBV infection within tumors,
and EBV genomes and gene products are detectable in Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg
(HRS) cells. The proportion of EBV-associated HL in any population varies with
age, sex, ethnicity and histologic subtype. Two population-based epidemiologic
studies have examined risk factor profiles in HL with cases stratified
according to EBV status. For EBV-associated HL cases, there is a small peak in
incidence in young adults (15-24 years) and a second larger peak in older
adults. By contrast, HL that is not associated with EBV (EBV-negative HL)
accounts for the major part of the young adult incidence peak after which the
incidence of this disease entity then declines. Prior infectious mononucleosis
(IM) is associated with an increased risk of developing HL, and there is a
specific, probably causal, association between previous IM and young adult
EBV-associated HL. We therefore believe that the small peak in the incidence of
EBV-associated HL in young adults is real and related to late infection by EBV.
EBV-associated HL in childhood and young adults, therefore, appears to follow
primary infection by the virus. At the time of diagnosis, EBV-associated HL
patients have an increased frequency of circulating EBV-infected cells compared
to patients with EBV-negative HL and normal controls. The EBV is present in
memory B cells and most probably reflects increased viral replication at
another site, such as the oropharynx. EBV genomes are detectable in the serum
and plasma of EBV-associated HL cases. The origin of EBV genomes in
serum/plasma differs in different disease states; in HL viral genomes are
present as naked DNA and are probably shed from tumors. EBV genome copy number
in serum/plasma may provide an indication of tumor burden and may prove to be a
useful marker for monitoring HL patients. The etiology of EBV-negative HL
remains unknown and, while the involvement of an infectious agent may be
suspected, none has yet been identified. Overall, epidemiologic studies support
the idea that HL can be divided into two etiologic subgroups on the basis of
EBV status and suggest that EBV-associated cases can be further divided into
three groups related to age at diagnosis.


Cancer Lett. 2011 Aug 28;307(2):221-6. Epub  2011 May 4.

Epstein Barr virus in relation to apoptosis markers and patients’ outcome in pediatric B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.


Molecular Biology Laboratory, Pathology Division, Ricardo Gutiérrez Children’s Hospital, Gallo 1330, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


In this study, we investigated Epstein Barr virus (EBV) presence, associated to proliferation and apoptosis proteins in pediatric B-cell Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL). EBERs, Ki67, active caspase 3, Bax and Bcl2 were analyzed on B-NHL tissue from 40 patients. Forty percent showed EBV expression, significantly higher among patients ⩽10years (P=0.027), and associated with immunosuppression (P=0.020), but not associated apotosis markers. However, EBV was associated with a worse event-free survival (P=0.016), particularly under immunosuppression. Even though EBV did not seem to alter apoptotic pathways, it exhibited survival disadvantage and could be an important cofactor in B-cell lymphomagenesis in younger children.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID: 21546156

4 Replies to “Lymphoma: The Epstein-Barr Connection (Mono) Is Strong.”

  1. I write this having no idea if anyone will ever see it.
    I contracted a severe case of mono at 13. My case was isolated in the area so how I got it remained a mystery until one brave healer told me that it was in my innoculations as a child. The first signs that the epstein-barr virus had decided to call my body home was temporal lobe seisures at 25. Despite being told numerously of my medical history, modern medicine either ignored the obvious or were too egotistical to listen to the patient. I was treated for epilepsy, narcolepsy and ms which only taxed my body worse but never altered its path. After 10 years of meaningless treatement, hundreds of tests and a fair amount of humiliation, I took myself off the pill-mill and just lived with the symptoms. As the years passed, I learned it’s routine and found ways to co-exist with it. Somewhere around 35 the symptoms changed leaving me far more sick than before and still, no logical path of treatment was ever offered. It is only through my own curiousity that I have found out what has really happened to me. With diet and relaxation techniques, I work to co-exist with this virus but I can feel it fight. Knowing that lymphatic cancer is very highly likely, all I can do is try to hang on for as long as my body and spirit are able. Most people never know what ends their time on earth. I have carried mine with me for most of my life…argued with it, compromised with it and finally accepted it. Even now, modern medicine will not have a chance to save face as whatever happens to me – I die knowing that all those doctors who let me be sick can’t do anything to save themselves either. My advice – don’t let someone you don’t know and trust inject anything into you or your children. Vaccinations don’t protect you nearly as well as you have been led to believe and in my case – they injected me with a virus that has slowing robbed me of my life – and they never even had enough compassion to admit it to me. I wish everyone luck – it’s the only chance you really have.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear your story, and at least one person, me, has read it. I just finished a piece on the most recent measles “epidemic” in Britain and will post it, because they are looking at requiring MMR shots now.

    I would look at the information on EBV and MS. I have a great deal of information about its actions in the body, and will be glad to post what I have if it would be useful. Here’s some older information on MS from my website:

  3. I have tested positive for mono several times throughout my life. No one ever seemed to know a treatment and I usually recovered after a week of bedrest.
    Four years ago, I was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma advanced to sites in several organs. I was advised to immediately begin chemo therapy possibly followed with radiation.
    I refused chemo and temporarily, pursued a raw vegan diet for 1 yr. and now treat with native and natural remedies including, but not limited to Essiac.
    I have survived in fair health for the past four years by avoiding modern medicine.
    Is there any treatment for epstein barre? Is there any natural treatment for non-hodgkins lymphoma.

  4. Generally, EBS isn’t treated conventionally except with supportive care, and NH Lymphoma usually gets treated naturally only as a supportive measure. In my own work, I have explored treating EBS with what I consider anti-proliferative herbs for the entire herpes family: licorice, lysine, lemon balm and garlic. Theoretically, these might be helpful as support for NH lymphoma as well. But I would never say that there is one treatment for everyone because I believe strongly that treatment should be individualized.

Tell me what you think!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: