To compare the performance of three PCR assays in measuring circulating Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). DNA levels in nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients and to confirm its prognostic significance.Plasma from 58 newly diagnosed nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients were collected before, during, and every 3 to 6 months after radiotherapy. EBV DNA levels were determined by real-time quantitative PCR using primer/probe sets for polymerase-1 (Pol-1), latent membrane protein 2 (Lmp2), and BamHI-W. Pretreatment levels from the three assays were correlated with each other and serial measurements from the Pol-1 assay were correlated with clinical variables.Pol-1 was more accurate than BamHI-W in predicting EBV DNA concentrations in cell lines. Of the three assays, BamHI-W yielded the highest concentrations followed by Pol-1 in plasmas (n = 23). The correlation coefficient was 0.99 (P < 0.0001) for Pol-1 and Lmp2, 0.66 (P < 0.0001) for Pol-1 and BamHI-W, and 0.55 (P < 0.0001) for BamHI-W and Lmp2. Elevated pretreatment DNA levels as detected by Pol-1 were correlated with advanced nodal stage (P = 0.04) and overall stage (P = 0.028). There was no correlation between pretreatment EBV DNA levels and freedom-from-relapse or overall survival; however, there was a significant correlation between posttreatment levels and these variables. The 2-year freedom-from-relapse and overall survival rates were 92% and 94% for patients with undetectable, and 37% and 55% for those with detectable, posttreatment levels (P < 0.0001 and P < 0.002).The three PCR assays yielded similar results in detecting EBV DNA in plasmas. The Pol-1-detected posttreatment EBV DNA level was the strongest predictor for treatment outcomes.
View details for DOI 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-05-0648
View details for PubMedID 16115906