Alumna Miao Xu Authors Paper in Cell Genomics

Cell Genomics Coverrecent paper led by alumna Miao Xu and supervised by Xihong Lin appeared on the cover of the 2/14 issue of Cell Genomics. Xu is a former member in Lin’s lab and currently Associate Professor of Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine at the Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, China. The paper is entitled “Host genetic variants, Epstein-Barr virus subtypes, and the risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma: Assessment of interaction and mediation.”  By performing joint interaction and mediation analysis, the paper showed Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-host genetic interaction predisposes susceptibility to nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). This EBV-related cancer, though rare in most parts of the world, is highly endemic in southern China.

Illustrated on the cover, the red virus and double-stranded DNA symbols capture the strong interaction between the high-risk subtype of EBV and susceptible HLA alleles. This interaction is the major determinant of NPC risk among southern Chinese populations. The results of the paper showed most NPC risk could be eliminated by intervening against infection of the high-risk EBV carriers, e.g, by developing a vaccine targeting towards the EBV subtypes, and by routine NPC screening among high-risk EBV carriers for early detection. This work resulted from collaborations among researchers in Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Karolinska Institutet, and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.