The Epstein-Barr Virus

The Epstein-Barr virus is a very common virus: over 90% of the world’s population will, at some point in their lives, be exposed to it and subsequently develop antibodies against it. The virus is also known as human herpesvirus 4.

Most people will know it as the cause of mononucleosis, a condition where the tonsils and lymph nodes become inflamed.

The Epstein-Barr virus is also linked to the development of nasopharyngeal cancer, and plays an important role in the NPScreen genetic test. In order to test for nasopharyngeal cancer, the DNA in the patient’s throat cells are examined to determine if they have been infected with the Epstein-Barr virus. The presence of the virus in the cells’ DNA is linked to the development of nasopharyngeal cancer. The test distinguishes between those that have developed immunity to the virus and those that are infected by the virus and are at risk.

 

For more information on the Epstein-Barr virus and its link to nasopharyngeal cancer, please visit: http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/what-is-a-risk-factor/viruses-bacteria-and-other-infectious-agents/epstein-barr-virus/?region=on