Several viruses, such as Epstein–Barr virus, are now known to be associated with several human cancers, but not all patients with these viral infections develop cancer. In transplantation, such viruses often have a prolonged time gap from infection to cancer development, and many are preceded by a period of circulating and detectable nucleic acids in the peripheral blood compartment. The interpretation of a viral load as a measure of posttransplant risk of developing cancer depends on the virus, the cancer and associated pathogenic factors. This review describes the current state of knowledge regarding the utility and limitations of peripheral blood nucleic acid testing for Epstein–Barr virus in surveillance and risk prediction for posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorders.
The author discusses the current state of knowledge of Epstein–Barr viral load monitoring for posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease and makes recommendations for future improvements.