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Epstein-Barr virus-induced natural killer/T cell lymphoma arising in tonsil and cervical node tissue
  1. Adora Tricia Santos1,
  2. Jiankun Tong2,
  3. Amir Steinberg3 and
  4. Larry Shemen4
  1. 1Department of Surgery, New York Presbyterian Queens, Flushing, New York, USA
  2. 2Department of Pathology, New York Presbyterian Queens, Flushing, New York, USA
  3. 3Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, New York, USA
  4. 4Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Adora Tricia Santos; adorat.santos{at}


Infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been linked to approximately 10%–15% of lymphomas diagnosed in the USA, including a small percentage of Natural Killer (NK)/T cell lymphomas, which are clinically aggressive, respond poorly to chemotherapy and have a shorter survival. Here, we present a case of a patient found to have EBV-induced NK/T cell lymphoma from a chronic EBV infection. While the EBV most commonly infects B cells, it can infect NK/T cells, and it is important for the clinician to be aware of the potential transformation to lymphoma as it is clinically aggressive, warranting early recognition and treatment. NK/T cell lymphoma is a unique type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that is almost always associated with EBV. The disease predominantly localises in the upper aerodigestive tract, most commonly in the nose.

  • head and neck cancer
  • head and neck surgery

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to the research regarding the EBV and its association with NK/T cell lymphoma. ATS was the main reporter of the clinical course of the patient. JT provided analysis of the pathologic slides described in the paper. AS provided the pathologic images and interpretations, as well as information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of patients with this disease process. LS was the main coordinator between the three authors in gathering data and pathologic images as well as the main editor of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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