EBNA1-targeted inhibitors: Novel approaches for the treatment of Epstein-Barr virus-associated cancers

Lijun Jiang, Chen Xie, Hong Lok LUNG, Kwok Wai Lo*, Ga Lai Law, Nai Ki MAK, Ka-Leung WONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infects more than 90% of humans worldwide and establishes lifelong latent infection in the hosts. It is closely associated with endemic forms of a wide range of human cancers and directly contributes to the formation of some. Despite its critical role in cancer development, no EBV- or EBV latent protein-targeted therapy is available. The EBV-encoded latent protein, Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1), is expressed in all EBV-associated tumors and acts as the only latent protein in some of these tumors. This versatile protein functions in the maintenance, replication, and segregation of the EBV genome and can therefore serve as an attractive therapeutic target to treat EBV-associated cancers. In the last decades, efforts have been made for designing specific EBNA1 inhibitors to decrease EBNA1 expression or interfere with EBNA1-dependent functions. In this review, we will briefly introduce the salient features of EBNA1, summarize its functional domains, and focus on the recent developments in the identification and design of EBNA1 inhibitors related to various EBNA1 domains as well as discuss their comparative merits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5307-5319
Number of pages13
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • EBNA1
  • EBNA1-targeted inhibitor
  • EBV
  • EBV-associated cancers
  • Fluorescent probe


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