Prognostic impact of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-DNA copy number at diagnosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Liang J-H., Gao R., Xia Y., Gale RP., Chen R-Z., Yang Y-Q., Wang L., Qu X-Y., Qiu H-R., Cao L., Hong M., Wang R., Wang Y., Fan L., Chen Y-Y., Hu Z-B., Li J-Y., Xu W.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-DNA is detected in the blood of some persons with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) at diagnosis. Whether this is important in the development or progression of CLL is controversial. We interrogated associations between blood EBV-DNA copy number and biological and clinical variables in 243 new-diagnosed consecutive subjects with CLL. Quantification of EBV-DNA copies was done by real-time quantitative PCR (RQ-PCR). All subjects had serological evidence of prior EBV-infection. However, only 24 subjects (10%) had a EBV-DNA-positive test at diagnosis. EBV-DNA-positive subjects at diagnosis had lower hemoglobin concentrations and platelet levels, higher thymidine kinase-1 and serum ferritin levels, un-mutated IGHV genes and a greater risk of Richter transformation compared with EBV-DNA-negative subjects. Percent CD20-, CD148- and ZAP70-positive cells and mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) of each cluster designation were also increased in EBV-DNA-positive subjects at diagnosis. EBV-DNA test positivity was associated with a briefer time-to-treatment interval (HR 1.85; [95% confidence interval, 1.13, 3.03]; P=0.014) and worse survival (HR 2.77; [1.18, 6.49]; P=0.019). Reduction in EBV copies was significantly associated with therapy-response. A positive blood EBV-DNA test at diagnosis and sequential testing of EBV copies during therapy were significantly associated with biological and clinical variables, time-to-treatment, therapy-response and survival. If validated these data may be added to CLL prognostic scoring systems.