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Nasopharyngeal Cancer Research in the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is one of the cancers caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and a family history of the disease is the strongest nonviral risk factor. Investigators in the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch (IIB) have been evaluating EBV-based markers for use in early detection of NPC, and are also studying the genetic risk factors associated with the disease. Selected studies include:

Nasopharyngeal Case-Control Study

Two case-control studies were conducted in Taiwan between 1991-1994 and 2010-2014.  Together, these two studies included more than 2,000 NPC cases and more than 2,400 controls and were designed to examine the role of viral, environmental, and genetic factors associated with the development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Learn more about the Nasopharyngeal Case-Control Study.

Nasopharyngeal Family Study

A family study in Taiwan to elucidate genetic factors linked to the development of nasopharyngeal cancer and to evaluate clinically useful viral markers of disease risk was started in the mid 1990s. Using the national cancer registry, investigators identified and recruited more than 3,200 individuals from 358 nasopharyngeal carcinoma multiplex families. Active and passive follow-up of these families and their members is ongoing. Learn more about the Nasopharyngeal Family Study.

EBV Screening for the Early Detection of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) screening for the early detection of NPC in China demonstration project includes a group of approximately 30,000 men and women ages 35-69 recruited into the active screening arm of a community-randomized trial to evaluate the impact of EBV-based antibody screening on NPC mortality rates. As part of this effort, NCI is collaborating on a substudy to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of endoscopy versus MRI for the detection of NPC and the utility of nasopharynx viral load testing to triage EBV antibody-positive individuals. Learn more about EBV Screening for the Early Detection of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma.

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