Background and Aims: The prevalence and prognostic significance of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection in classical Hodgkin's lymphomas (cHLs) remain elusive. To examine the epidemiological and prognostic differences between EBV-positive and -negative cHLs, we conducted a meta-analysis of 119 published studies including 13,045 cases. Methods: We pooled the results of relevant published studies identified using the PubMed and Embase. The effect sizes of outcome parameters were calculated by prevalence, odds ratio (OR), or hazard ratio using a random-effects model. Results: The pooled prevalence of EBV infection in cHL was 47.9%, which was significantly higher in Africa and Central and South America than other regions. EBV-positive cHL showed higher incidence in children than in adults (69.7 vs. 41.1%). EBV-positive cHL was significantly related to male (OR = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.510-2.038; p <0.001), mixed cellularity subtype (OR = 3.8, 95% CI: 3.243-4.451; p <0.001), and advanced clinical stages (OR = 1.2, 95% CI: 1.072-1.369; p = 0.002). However, the presence of EBV in cHL was not associated with overall or event-free survival. Conclusions: The prevalence of EBV differs according to age, sex, region, histologic subtype, and clinical stage of cHL. However, the presence of EBV has little effects on cHL patient's survival.
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