Rta is a biomarker of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in early stage. With rapid development of gene technology, more and more studies proved that encoding protein Rta of BRLF1 lytic gene is the specific molecular biomarker of nasopharyngeal cancer when EB virus begin to replicate in tumor cells during lytic phase.
Professor Hu Huaizhong, an American scientist, and his research team published articles during 2000 and 2001 in the well-recognized national magazines - "Journal of the General Virology" and “Cancer”. They verified that Rta was found in the biopsy of nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients but not in nasopharyngeal tissues of normal people. This finding indicated Rta to be an unique protein of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Prof. Zeng Yi, one of the world's leading experts on nasopharyngeal carcinoma and a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his research team published a paper in 2005 to further confirmed Rta as a biomarker in serological diagnosis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. And then a large quantity of literatures and clinical research shown that Rta was the first protein of EB virus in lytic cycle. It could not only initiate the gene division in early and late stages, but could also revert to initiate the latent gene, resulting in the "waterfall" spectrum of EB virus genes.