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Epstein-Barr virus-associated lymphomas.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), originally discovered through its association with Burkitt lymphoma, is now aetiologically linked to a remarkably wide range of lymphoproliferative lesions and malignant lymphomas of B-, T- and NK-cell origin. Some occur as rare accidents of virus persistence in the B lymphoid system, while others arise as a result of viral entry into unnatural target cells. The early finding that EBV is a potent B-cell growth transforming agent hinted at a simple oncogenic mechanism by which this virus could promote lymphomagenesis. In reality, the pathogenesis of EBV-associated lymphomas involves a complex interplay between different patterns of viral gene expression and cellular genetic changes. Here we review recent developments in our understanding of EBV-associated lymphomagenesis in both the immunocompetent and immunocompromised host.This article is part of the themed issue 'Human oncogenic viruses'.

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