Rapid Communication
Copyright ©2008 The WJG Press and Baishideng. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Jul 21, 2008; 14(27): 4347-4351
Published online Jul 21, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.4347
Epstein-Barr virus is associated with gastric carcinoma: The question is what is the significance?
Hugo Sousa, Ana L Pinto-Correia, Rui Medeiros, Mario Dinis-Ribeiro
Hugo Sousa, Ana L Pinto-Correia, Rui Medeiros, Molecular Oncology Group and Molecular Virology Laboratory, Portuguese Institute of Oncology of Porto, Porto 4200-072, Portugal
Hugo Sousa, Rui Medeiros, ICBAS, Abel Salazar Institute for the Biomedical Sciences, University of Porto, Porto 4200-072, Portugal
Mario Dinis-Ribeiro, Gastroenterology Department, Portuguese Institute of Oncology of Porto, Porto 4200-072, Portugal
Author contributions: Sousa H and Pinto-Correia AL contribute equally to this study and wrote the paper; Sousa H, Pinto-Correia AL, Medeiros R and Dinis-Ribeiro M designed research, performed research and analyse data.
Correspondence to: Mario Dinis-Ribeiro, MD, Serviço de Gastrenterologia, Instituto Português de Oncologia do Porto FG, EPE Rua Dr. António Bernardino Almeida, Porto 4200-072, Portugal. mario@med.up.pt
Telephone: +351-22-5084000
Fax: +351-22-5084001
Received: March 17, 2008
Revised: April 25, 2008
Accepted: May 2, 2008
Published online: July 21, 2008

AIM: To examine the possible role of the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) in the development of gastric adenocarcinoma (GC). It is unclear whether EBV is involved in GC development or is a consequence of gastric inflammation secondary to immunosuppressive treatments.

METHODS: A systematic review was carried out of all published observational studies on the temporal association between EBV and GC, with a view to determine a causal relationship.

RESULTS: The present study showed that the worldwide crude prevalence of EBV in gastric adenocarcinoma was 8.29%. The prevalence varied from 7.08% for intestinal type and 9.82% for diffuse type of GC. It was observed that Western and Central Asian countries had a significantly higher frequency of EBV positive cases compared to South-Eastern countries. America had the highest EBV-GC prevalence whereas Europe had the lowest.

CONCLUSION: The present review has demonstrated a high prevalence of EBV in gastric adenocarcinoma. However, studies designed to assess a temporal relationship and histological association using sensitive techniques should be carried out to establish the role of EBV in GC carcinogenesis.

Keywords: Epstein-Barr virus infection, Gastric carcinoma, Systematic review