J Prev Med Public Health.  2016 Mar;49(2):97-107. 10.3961/jpmph.15.068.

Epstein-Barr Virus and Gastric Cancer Risk: A Meta-analysis With Meta-regression of Case-control Studies

  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, Korea. jmbae@jejunu.ac.kr


Research on how the risk of gastric cancer increases with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is lacking. In a systematic review that investigated studies published until September 2014, the authors did not calculate the summary odds ratio (SOR) due to heterogeneity across studies. Therefore, we include here additional studies published until October 2015 and conduct a meta-analysis with meta-regression that controls for the heterogeneity among studies.
Using the studies selected in the previously published systematic review, we formulated lists of references, cited articles, and related articles provided by PubMed. From the lists, only case-control studies that detected EBV in tissue samples were selected. In order to control for the heterogeneity among studies, subgroup analysis and meta-regression were performed.
In the 33 case-control results with adjacent non-cancer tissue, the total number of test samples in the case and control groups was 5280 and 4962, respectively. In the 14 case-control results with normal tissue, the total number of test samples in case and control groups was 1393 and 945, respectively. Upon meta-regression, the type of control tissue was found to be a statistically significant variable with regard to heterogeneity. When the control tissue was normal tissue of healthy individuals, the SOR was 3.41 (95% CI, 1.78 to 6.51; I-squared, 65.5%).
The results of the present study support the argument that EBV infection increases the risk of gastric cancer. In the future, age-matched and sex-matched case-control studies should be conducted.


Gastric neoplasms; Risk factor; Epstein-Barr virus; Meta-analysis

MeSH Terms

Case-Control Studies
DNA, Viral/analysis/metabolism
Databases, Factual
Epstein-Barr Virus Infections/*pathology/virology
Herpesvirus 4, Human/genetics/isolation & purification/*pathogenicity
Odds Ratio
Stomach Neoplasms/*pathology/virology
DNA, Viral
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