Ka-Wei Tang - portrait

Research summary

The majority of adults in the world are infected by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Following a primary infection during childhood or adolescence, EBV remains latent in our B-lymphocytes for the rest of our lives.

For most of us this latent infection will go unnoticed. But for approximately 200,000 patients world-wide each year EBV-infection turns into a fatal disease in the form of hematological (post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disease, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Burkitt’s lymphoma) and epithelial malignancies (gastric adenocarcinoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma). However, no specific treatment is currently available for EBV-associated malignancies.

We have shown that EBV-associated gastric adenocarcinomas only express a single EBV-gene, RPMS1. RPMS1 encodes a 4 kilobase-pair long non-coding RNA and the same expression pattern can be seen in other EBV-associated malignancies. Interestingly, despite being one of few putative targets for EBV-associated malignancies, this transcript has been completely neglected and the function is not yet known.

Research tools and resources

Our projects encompass clinical and molecular studies of the EBV-associated malignancies with particular focus on mutational landscapes and viral gene expression. We use clinical samples from pre-malignant and malignant stages and analyse them using standard clinical assays and genetic manipulation techniques to affirm potential targets as clinically significant markers and important factors for proliferation.

Current group members

Ka-Wei Tang, MD, PhD, Group leader
​​​Maria Inger Ekblad, PhD, Postdoc
Yarong Tian, PhD, Postdoc
Alan Bäckerholm, PhD student
Diana Vracar, PhD student
Isak Holmquist, PhD student

Selected publications

  1. Tumour virology in the era of high-throughput genomics.
    Tang KW, Larsson E.  Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2017 Oct 19;372(1732).
  2. CDK9 and SPT5 proteins are specifically required for expression of herpes simplex virus 1 replication-dependent late genes.
    Zhao Z*, Tang KW*, Muylaert I, Samuelsson T, Elias P. *contributed equally.  J Biol Chem. 2017 Sep 15;292(37):15489-15500.
  3. Absence of cytomegalovirus in high-coverage DNA sequencing of human glioblastoma multiforme.
    Tang KW, Hellstrand K, Larsson E.  Int J Cancer. 2015 Feb 15;136(4):977-81.
  4. The landscape of viral expression and host gene fusion and adaptation in human cancer.
    Tang KW, Alaei-Mahabadi B, Samuelsson T, Lindh M, Larsson E.  Nat Commun. 2013;4:2513.

More group Ka-Wei Tang publications on PubMed

Ka-Wei Tang
Photo: Emelie Asplund

Contact information

Ka-Wei Tang

E-mail: Ka-Wei Tang
Phone: +46 (0)31 342 1000

Visiting address:
Sahlgrenska Center
for Cancer Research,
Medicinaregatan 1F
413 90 Gothenburg