Treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma with Epstein-Barr virus-specific T lymphocytes

Karin C.M. Straathof, Catherine M. Bollard, Uday Popat, M. Helen Huls, Teresita Lopez, M. Craig Morriss, Mary V. Gresik, Adrian P. Gee, Heidi V. Russell, Malcolm K. Brenner, Cliona M. Rooney, Helen E. Heslop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

301 Scopus citations


Conventional treatment for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) frequently fails and is accompanied by severe long-term side effects. Since virtually all undifferentiated NPCs are associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), this tumor is an attractive candidate for cellular immunotherapy targeted against tumor-associated viral antigens. We now demonstrate that EBV-specific cytotoxic T-cell (CTL) lines can readily be generated from individuals with NPC, notwithstanding the patients' prior exposure to chemotherapy/radiation. A total of 10 patients diagnosed with advanced NPC were treated with autologous CTLs. All patients tolerated the CTLs, although one developed increased swelling at the site of pre-existing disease. At 19 to 27 months after infusion, 4 patients treated in remission from locally advanced disease remain disease free. Of 6 patients with refractory disease prior to treatment, 2 had complete responses, and remain in remission over 11 to 23 months after treatment; 1 had a partial remission that persisted for 12 months; 1 has had stable disease for more than 14 months; and 2 had no response. These results demonstrate that administration of EBV-specific CTLs to patients with advanced NPC is feasible, appears to be safe, and can be associated with significant antitumor activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1898-1904
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma with Epstein-Barr virus-specific T lymphocytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this