What Links Epstein-Barr Virus and Hodgkin Lymphoma

    Epstein-Barr Virus

    Hodgkin Lymphoma is a kind of cancer earlier called as Hodgkin’s disease. In addition, it has its origin from the B cells either from the post-germinal or germinal center. The cellular composition of this disease is unique. Also, it consists of neoplastic cells that have inflammatory properties. Due to its features, these cells are different from the B cell lymphomas. This lymphoma mainly arises in the lymph nodes of any part of the body. Then, it spreads to the vital organs like liver, lungs, bone marrow, etc.

    Epstein-Barr Virus is present ubiquitously and it causes herpes and spreads throughout the world. However, the Epstein Barr virus treatments are not required in most of the cases, and in few weeks it gets clear up on its own. The transmission of this virus mainly happens through the saliva of EBV shedders and the persons susceptible to this disease.

    The primary infection is mostly subclinical, and nearly 90-95% of adults have antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus and are found to be seropositive, i.e., their blood serum shows the presence of the virus. As said earlier, Epstein Barr virus treatments do not require the antibiotics. Though some doctors give antiviral medication like acyclovir to lessen the symptoms.

    Association Between Epstein-Barr Virus and Hodgkin Lymphoma

    The studies were done epidemiologically that showed the patients who have infectious mononucleosis history are at higher risk of developing Hodgkin Lymphoma. This is mainly because the patients have some antibodies for the antigens of Epstein-Barr which paves the way for the disease. The studies have revealed that a subset of patients suffering from Lymphoma have tumor cells. This tumor cells which showed the presence of the virus.


    In a small population, it was found that Epstein-Barr virus played a role in developing tumors like Burkitt’s lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and cancer of nasopharyngeal region. Moreover in the U.S. in the population of people with Reed-Sternberg cells, 30% of patients have this virus.

    In the years between 1988 and 1997 in San Francisco Bay area. A study was conducted for the assessment of the link between the Lymphoma patients who survived and the existence of EB virus in the tumor cells. Total 922 patients were evaluated suffering from HL. After diagnosis patients were observed and it was found that 27% of patients have Reed-Sternberg cells. However, the results were different for various age groups. The results are; 19% young adults, 40% children and seniors showed the presence of Epstein Barr virus cells.

    • The survival and the presence of this virus in the tumor cells varied in the different age groups.
    • If the patients with virus cells were younger and less than 15 years old their survival rate was better.
    • In the age group of 15 to 44 years, the survival rate and the presence of the virus cells did not show any relationship.
    • Senior patients who were more than 45 years of age and have Reed-Sternberg cells with the EBV, showed the worst survival rate as they had nodular sclerosis (a subtype of HL).


    The conclusion was made that the relation between the patients with Reed-Sternberg cells. THese cells that showed the presence of Epstein Barr Virus can provide the information for better prognosis. However, the patient’s survival depended on the subtype of Hodgkin Lymphoma and the age of the patient. The young patients that have this virus in the tumor cells showed the best survival results. However, the old patients that have the subtype of Hodgkin Lymphoma of nodular sclerosis showed the worst survival rate.

    In lessening the symptoms of the virus, some steps can be taken at home such as the Epstein Barr virus treatments. One of the steps includes taking plenty of rest and water. Warm water gargles and lozenges also help in soothing the sore throat caused by this virus.

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    Saminu Abass Ola who is popularly called ‘Mr. Possible‘ is a young motivational and inspirational speaker and writer, who is also the brain behind this wonderful blog. He is also passionate about Social Marketing. He believes in the abilities of others and tends to bring out the hidden potentials in people’s lives through his motivational articles and words of inspiration.