Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has consistently been detected in the tumour cells of nasopharyngeal carcinoma and lymphoepithelial-like carcinoma of the salivary glands, and have occasionally been found in similar tumours at other sites. Moreover, recent studies from various parts of the world including the Orient have shown about 10% of gastric carcinomas to be EBV-associated. We studied 50 gastric carcinomas from Malaysia to investigate its association with EBV in the Malaysian population. They comprised 37 intestinal and 13 diffuse type carcinomas from 32 male and 18 female patients, age range from 29 to 86 years with an ethnic distribution of Malay: Chinese: Indian with the ratio of 4: 27: 19. EBV gene and gene-expression were examined in sections of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue using commercially available probes for detecting EBV encoded RNAs (EBERs) by in situ hybridization and monoclonal antibodies to EBV latent membrane protein-1 (LMP-1) by standard immunohistochemistry. Five of 50 gastric carcinomas showed EBER intranuclear positivity in all tumour cells but no cases expressed LMP-1. The EBV-associated cases were classified as intestinal type in 4 and diffuse type in one case and all were histologically unremarkable. EBV-positive tumours were found in 3 Chinese and 2 Indian patients with none in the small Malay group. Four EBV-positive tumours were in male patients, with age-range of 65 to 86 years. We conclude that our findings of about 10% of Malaysian gastric carcinomas being EBV-associated is in line with the results from other parts of the world and from other ethnic groups.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.