Measles virus: Evidence of an association with Hodgkin's disease Academic Article uri icon


  • The quest for an infectious agent that may account for cases of Hodgkin's disease (HD) especially in young adults has proven vain until lately. We have recently reported findings that suggested the presence of measles virus (MV) antigens and MV RNA in the tissues of patients with HD. Support for an association between MV and HD has been provided by recent epidemiological findings relating the occurrence of HD to exposure to measles in pregnancy and the perinatal period. We now present further evidence of this putative association based on immunohistochemical, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in situ hybridisation studies (ISH) on HD tissues. Biopsies from 82 (54.3%) of our cohort of 154 patients showed a positive immunostain with at least two of the anti-measles antibodies used. Latent membrane protein-1 immunostaining for Epstein-Barr virus was positive in 46 (31.1%) of the patients examined. Reverse transcriptase-PCR and ISH for measles RNA were positive in seven and 10 of 28 patients, respectively. Preliminary clinicopathological associations between MV and HD are noted in this study, but no causal relationship can be claimed at this stage.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004