According to an article recently published in the British Journal of Cancer, individuals infected with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) do not have an increased risk of gastric cancer.

There are high rates of gastric cancer (cancer of the stomach) in Asia. Researchers believe these high rates may be due, at least in part, to infection with helicobacter pylori bacteria. With recent findings indicating that infection with viruses and/or bacteria may play a significant part in increasing the risk of various cancers, researchers continue to evaluate this potential association.

Epstein-Barr virus is known to be linked to increased rates of some lymphomas and head and neck cancers. Based on this information, researchers conducted a clinical study among individuals in Linxian, China, to evaluate whether an association exists between EBV and gastric cancer. This study included 185 patients with gastric cancer and 200 patients without gastric cancer. All patients were tested for EBV infection.

The researchers found that exposure to or infection with EBV was not associated with an increased rate of gastric cancer. They thus concluded that infection with EBV does not appear to be associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer.

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Reference: Koshiol J, Qiao Y-L, Mark S, et al. Epstein-Barr virus serology and gastric cancer incidence and survival. British Journal of Cancer. 2007; 97:1567-1569.