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How is Epstein-Barr virus linked to nasopharyngeal cancer?

ANSWER

Although Epstein-Barr virus infection is common, not everyone who has it will get nasopharyngeal cancer. In the U.S., most people who have had an Epstein-Barr virus infection never have long-term problems. That's because the body's immune system destroys the virus.

But sometimes, genetic material (DNA) from the virus mixes with the DNA in the cells of the nasopharynx. The change in DNA causes cells to grow and divide abnormally, causing cancer. This is rare.

From: Nasopharyngeal Cancer WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society web site: "Nasopharyngeal Cancer."

National Cancer Institute web site: "Nasopharyngeal Cancer."

Cummings, C.W., Flint, P.W., Haughey, B.H., editors. 5th ed., Mosby Elsevier, 2010. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery.

Carey, W.D., editor, , 2nd ed., Saunders Elsevier, 2010. Cleveland Clinic: Current Clinical Medicine 2010

Abeloff, M.D., Armitage, J.O., Niederhuber, J.E., Kastan, M.B., McKenna, W.G., editors, , 4th ed., Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2008. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology

Hui, E.P., Chan, A.T.C., Le, Q-T. "Treatment of early and locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma," UpToDate version 19.2; September 2011, last updated Nov. 14, 2011.

Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo on January 20, 2020

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society web site: "Nasopharyngeal Cancer."

National Cancer Institute web site: "Nasopharyngeal Cancer."

Cummings, C.W., Flint, P.W., Haughey, B.H., editors. 5th ed., Mosby Elsevier, 2010. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery.

Carey, W.D., editor, , 2nd ed., Saunders Elsevier, 2010. Cleveland Clinic: Current Clinical Medicine 2010

Abeloff, M.D., Armitage, J.O., Niederhuber, J.E., Kastan, M.B., McKenna, W.G., editors, , 4th ed., Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2008. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology

Hui, E.P., Chan, A.T.C., Le, Q-T. "Treatment of early and locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma," UpToDate version 19.2; September 2011, last updated Nov. 14, 2011.

Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo on January 20, 2020

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What lifestyle habits increase the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer?

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