EBV in NK/T-cell cancers: a study to find out more about the links between the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and NK/T-cell cancer

There is no treatment involved in this study. The researchers need biopsy and blood samples from people with NK/T-cell cancers, such as extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma.

Purpose of study

The aims of this study are to find out:

  • how Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) causes NK/T-cell lymphoproliferations (abnormally high numbers of NK/T cells) and cancers, including chronic (long-lasting) active EBV and extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma
  • how the cancers are resistant to chemotherapy
  • how to successfully treat the cancers with new drugs.

EBV is a very common virus that can cause glandular fever. Once infected with EBV, the vast majority of people with EBV never develop any disease. However, EBV is associated with several different types of lymphoma, for example Hodgkin lymphoma and Burkitt lymphoma . Rarely, EBV also causes lymphoma of T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, which are types of lymphocyte (white blood cells that fight infection). NK/T cell lymphomas are highly resistant to chemotherapy and therefore have limited treatment options.

What is involved

You are asked for permission for tissue from your biopsy to be used for research. The researchers also ask to use some of the blood from your regular blood tests. You don’t need to go to the hospital for extra tests – blood for the study is taken from the blood tests that are part of your regular treatment and follow-up. The researchers also need to collect a blood sample before you start treatment and after treatment.

The researchers record only your age, sex, and details of your disease and treatment.

Who can enter

Your consultant can give you advice on whether this study might be suitable for you.

Around 100 people are needed to enter this study.

You may be able to enter if

  • You have an NK/T-cell lymphoproliferation or cancer, such as extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma or aggressive NK leukaemia.
  • You are 18 or over.