The purpose of this study was to determine the presence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) patients from a black African population. Formalin fixed paraffin embedded blocks of OSCC of two randomly selected groups were investigated. Group 1 consisting of 57 blocks containing OSCC with a fragment of normal appearing adjacent/overlying epithelium. Group 2 consisted of 48 blocks containing only OSCC tissue without any normal appearing epithelium. The control group consisted of 38 non-malignant, non-viral associated lesions. A standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to amplify the Bam HI W-fragment using a nested primer set. EBV DNA was demonstrated in 14/57 (25%) blocks from Group 1, in 13/48 (27%) blocks from Group 2 and in 16/38 (42%) blocks from the control group. No evidence for a direct role of EBV in the process of malignant transformation of intraoral epithelial cells was found in this study.
This article was co-written by Prof Janse van Rensburg before she joined the University of Pretoria.