Adoptive cell therapy against EBV-related malignancies: A survey of clinical results

Anna Merlo, Riccardo Turrini, Riccardo Dolcetti, Paola Zanovello, Alberto Amadori, Antonio Rosato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) infection is associated with a heterogeneous group of tumors, including lymphoproliferative disorders, Hodgkin's disease, nasopharyngeal carcinoma and Burkitt's lymphoma. As such neoplastic disorders express viral antigens, they can be treated by adoptive immunotherapy strategies relying mostly on in vitro generation and expansion of virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), which can be administered to patients for both prophylaxis and treatment. Objective: We reviewed results obtained in all clinical trials reported thus far employing anti-EBV adoptive immunotherapy for different virus-related malignancies. Methods: 'PTLD after HSCT', 'PTLD after SOT', 'NPC', 'HD', 'SCAEBV' and 'extranodal NK/T cell lymphoma', in combination with 'Adoptive immunotherapy' and 'Adoptive transfer', were used as search keys for papers in PubMed. Conclusions: Although the heterogeneity of different studies precludes their collection for a meta-analysis, it can be inferred that adoptive therapy with EBV-specific CTL is safe, well tolerated and particularly effective in the case of most immunogenic tumors, like post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1265-1294
Number of pages30
JournalExpert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008


  • Adoptive cell therapy
  • CTL
  • EBV-related malignancies
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • PTLD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Drug Discovery

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