The connection between EBV infection and MM and MGUS

Today’s short post deals with proof of the association of the Epstein-Barr virus with MM and MGUS, which I found in a 2016 University of Sassari (Italy) study.

The full study isn’t available for free online, but, thanks to a lovely friend, I was able to get my hands on it. If you click on the page (at the following link), thereby enlarging it, you will be able to read almost the entire first page of the study where most of the results are posted, actually:

The study points out that until now, apart from a couple of case reports on plasmacytomas possibly caused by EBV in immunodeficient MM patients, there has been only ONE STUDY on the possible association of EBV and MM. That study, which I am going to have a look at soon, found traces of EBV DNA in the bone marrow of MGUS and MM patients. Eh!

But this 2016 Italian study is the FIRST one to really make the connections. Click click click.

I won’t, indeed cannot, go into too many other details, for reasons of copyright, but I can report this bit of information, since you can see it for yourselves on the page at the above link: the patients were either MGUS or in different stages of MM. And they were IgG-kappa, IgG-lambda, IgM-kappa, IgA-lambda.

The study results show, for the first time ever, a connection between MM and MGUS and the Epstein-Barr virus.

And they also show that EBV may contribute to the survival of MM cells. How?

The researchers found that the latent EBV LMP2A gene was overexpressed in both MM and MGUS patients. Among other things, this gene activates the RAS pathway (do a search of my blog for more info on RAS), which is very bad news for us…but very good news for MM cells.

In short, the blasted gene helps MM cells survive…

Okay, I feel a bit like a dog with a bone right now. More chewing needed…more research, more studies…I have a few on my desktop, which I hope will yield some useful information…

Please feel free to leave me a comment, by the way. I’d love to hear, in particular, from those whose MGUS, SMM, or MM was diagnosed after some sort of viral episode…EBV, HCV, etc. Tell me/us your story! 🙂

Thanks so much! Ciao!




  1. Hi Margaret, I tried sending you some other research papers on this topic. I believe there is increasing evidence of a connection between chronic infections and MGUS/SMM/MM. In my case, had Lyme disease and other bacterial/viral infections, which over the course of a year became SMM and now MM. I am convinced the infections were the initiating triggers, no other risk factors for MM. I have met several others who have very similar story. I’m glad you are shining a light on this topic!

    1. I was diagnosed with MM in May of this year. I have thought there was a connection between a surgery on my left humorous bone which led to a subsequent infection (Osteo myelitis) two years prior. I as well have no other risk factors for MM. This is sad news to me, but very helpful in possible cause-and-effect that triggered my cancer. I would like to learn more about this.

  2. Thanks, Margaret! I’m eager to read the rest of your report. I was diagnosed with MGUS (IgG Kappa) a couple weeks ago. I’ve also had fibromyalgia for 13 years, and myalgic encephalomyelitis (aka: chronic fatigue) for a year. It’s possible that I’ve had M.E. longer, but it hit hard after a period of intense stress last summer. I got tested for EBV, and I do have a latent infection. My Naturopathic doctor started me on a reishi mushroom supplement to support my immune system against EBV. But just last week I read a study showing that centenarians who had a good defense against EBV also had correspondingly good levels of zinc. Does your study mention zinc levels?

  3. I have the EBV antibodies present. I can’t remember suffering from an infection, though. If it happened when I was in my 20s, I would have powered through it and not even have seen a doctor. 🙁

  4. I was diagnosed with Smoldering MM in 2010 at the age of 44. My diagnosis was discovered about 6 months after I had Parvovirus. At the time of my Parvo diagnosis, I had mild anemia. (A blood test 8 months prior had been normal). 4 months after the Parvo I was seeing my Chiropractor for low back pain and I mentioned feeling fatigued; she ordered a repeat blood count, demonstrating persisting anemia. This caused my GP to take a closer look, and eventually the diagnosis was established. Of note, I had Mononucleosis as a teenager, which would make me EBV positive. I do believe that the Parvo infection triggered the SMM, but then again my immune system could have been low and that’s why I got Parvo? It’s hard to know. The timing points to the former.

  5. Hi there!

    I was diagnosed in August 2017 with a primary EBV infection at the late age of 53. Hard to believe I made it so many years without being exposed to EBV. And I kissed quite a few boys over the years. Now, nearly a year later, I am still experiencing pain and extreme fatigue but my PCP didn’t seem to want to dig into the reasons for this. I reached out to a rheumatologist a couple of weeks ago on the suggestion of my eye doctor.
    The rheumatologist sent blood off for lab work and sent me for 3 x-rays (spinal) and 3 MRIs (L spine, S spine and femurs from hip to knee). Last week, those lab results sent me to a hematology oncologist because I have elevated protein in my blood. More blood was drawn and I currently await those results and for my hematologist to view the scans. The hematologist, of course, told me to not worry. But I am obviously worried.
    As I type this, I am hoping for MGUS and not MM. I was excited to find your blog as I am of course doing everything I can to familiarize myself with both of these conditions. I will be checking in periodically. Thank you for this forum.

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