Epstein-Barr virus infection is associated with certain non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, including AIDS-related lymphomas. Neoplastic transformation of B cells is related to expression of a subset of Epstein-Barr virus-derived genes, affording a potential site of therapeutic attack. Using antisense oligodeoxynucleotides, we now demonstrate that inhibition of Epstein-Barr virus-encoded EBNA-1, a gene product required to maintain the transformed phenotype, enhances the cytotoxicity of doxorubicin and etoposide (two commonly used lymphoma chemotherapy agents) for Epstein-Barr virus transformed B cell tumor cells. Primary AIDS-related lymphoma lines were also susceptible to the chemosensitizing effects of deoxyoligonucleotide-mediated EBNA-1 inhibition, suggesting that the wild type EBNA-1 sequences were targeted. B cell tumor cells not transformed with Epstein-Barr virus, and non-B cell tumor cells, were not specifically affected by anti-EBNA-1 oligodeoxynucleotide antisense treatment, although non-specific cytotoxicity was apparent. Thus, inhibition of Epstein-Barr virus transforming genes may represent a novel strategy to augment certain anti-non-Hodgkin's lymphoma chemotherapies, although the mechanism of chemosensitization remains undefined. These studies will also afford insights into mechanisms of Epstein-Barr virus-related tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-286
Number of pages9
JournalTumor Targeting
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999


  • AIDS-related malignancy
  • Antisense oligodeoxynucleotide
  • Chemotherapy
  • EBNA-1
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Transforming gene, lymphoma
  • Tumor transformation
  • Viral tumorigenesis


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