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BACKGROUND: Reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV) is more common in patients with malignancies; however, the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying this susceptibility are unclear. METHODS: Using ex vivo interferon-gamma ELISpot assays, we set out to analyse VZV-specific immune responses in a large cohort of patients with malignancies. RESULTS: We observed that patients with malignancies had impaired VZV-specific T-cell responses, particularly in those with haematological malignancies and breast carcinoma. Immediate-early protein 63 (IE63)-specific T-cell responses were significantly impaired in those with subclinical VZV re-activation. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that T-cell responses to IE63 are important in controlling VZV replication.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





727 - 730


Adult, Aged, Female, Herpesvirus 3, Human, Humans, Immediate-Early Proteins, Interferon-gamma, Lymphocyte Activation, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasms, T-Lymphocytes, Viral Envelope Proteins, Viral Vaccines, Viremia, Virus Activation