Association of GATA2 Deficiency With Severe Primary Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Infection and EBV-associated Cancers

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Background. Most patients infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) are asymptomatic, have nonspecific symptoms, or have self-limiting infectious mononucleosis. EBV, however, may result in severe primary disease or cancer.

Methods. We report EBV diseases associated with GATA2 deficiency at one institution and describe the hematology, virology, and cytokine findings.

Results. Seven patients with GATA2 deficiency developed severe EBV disease. Three presented with EBV infectious mononucleosis requiring hospitalization, 1 had chronic active EBV disease (B-cell type), 1 had EBV-associated hydroa vacciniforme–like lymphoma with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, and 2 had EBV-positive smooth muscle tumors. Four of the 7 patients had severe warts and 3 had disseminated nontuberculous mycobacterial infections. All of the patients had low numbers of monocytes, B cells, CD4 T cells, and natural killer cells. All had elevated levels of EBV in the blood; 2 of 3 patients tested had expression of the EBV major immediate-early gene in the blood indicative of active EBV lytic infection. Mean plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor α, interferon γ, and interferon gamma-induced protein 10 were higher in patients with GATA2 deficiency than in controls.

Conclusions.  GATA2 is the first gene associated with EBV hydroa vacciniforme–like lymphoma. GATA2 deficiency should be considered in patients with severe primary EBV infection or EBV-associated cancer, especially in those with disseminated nontuberculous mycobacterial disease and warts.

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