Early detection of nasopharyngeal carcinoma using IgA anti-EBNA1 + VCA-p18 serology assay

March 18, 2014
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Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is the most common head and neck malignancy in Indonesia. Overall, it ranks fourth in males and sixth in females as the most prevalent type of cancer in that country. The data show that in the year 2011, NPC incidence was considered to be intermediate (6.2/100,000 population per year). Through histopathologic examination, about 70 to 80% of these cases were found to be type III according to the WHO classificaton. NPC carries an excellent prognosis if treated early, but most patients presented with stage III to IV disease, which negatively affected the cure rate and increased the mortality rate. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) IgA serology has been established as an effective marker for NPC. Therefore, biologic markers, DNA, and/or antibody-based diagnosis is needed to decrease NPC cases. A screening program needs to be developed that will identify people at high risk of NPC and those who are in the early stage of the disease. In this study, 20 samples were collected from posttherapy patients. An otolaryngologic examination, histopathology of nasopharyngeal tissue, and blood testing for serologic markers were performed. IgA anti-EBNA1 + VCA-p18 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed positive impact as a tool for confirming the diagnosis of NPC, but it still has to be combined with other specific diagnostic tools for post-therapy monitoring and for determining prognosis.

Introduction

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is rare in most parts of the world, but it is relatively common in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia. Chinese populations, living either in mainland China or elsewhere, have the highest incidence of this tumor worldwide: 10 cases/100,000 population.1

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