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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Epstein-Barr virus infection and chronic lymphocytic leukemia: a possible progression factor?

Riccardo Dolcetti1* and Antonino Carbone2

Author Affiliations

1 Cancer Bio-Immunotherapy Unit, CRO - IRCCS, National Cancer Institute, Via Franco Gallini 2, 33081 Aviano, Italy

2 Pathology Unit, CRO - IRCCS, National Cancer Institute, Via Franco Gallini 2, 33081 Aviano, Italy

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Infectious Agents and Cancer 2010, 5:22  doi:10.1186/1750-9378-5-22

Published: 22 November 2010

Abstract

Epstein-Barr virus is pathogenically associated with a well defined group of lymphoid and epithelial tumors in which the virus directly drives transformation of infected cells. Recent evidence however indicates that this virus may infect a subpopulation of tumor cells in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and EBV infection has been also associated with Richter transformation in a fraction of cases. We herein review available data suggesting a possible role of EBV as a direct or micro-environmental progression factor in a subset of CLL.