Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) was first discovered 50 years ago as an oncogenic gamma-1 herpesvirus and infects more than 90% of the worldwide adult population. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) poses a serious health problem in southern China and is one of the most common cancers among the Chinese. There is now strong evidence supporting a role for EBV in the pathogenesis of NPC. Latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), a primary oncoprotein encoded by EBV, alters several functional and oncogenic properties, including transformation, cell death and survival in epithelial cells in NPC. LMP1 may increase protein modification, such as phosphorylation, and initiate aberrant signalling via derailed activation of host adaptor molecules and transcription factors. Here, we summarise the novel features of different domains of LMP1 and several new LMP1-mediated signalling pathways in NPC. When then focus on the potential roles of LMP1 in cancer stem cells, metabolism reprogramming, epigenetic modifications and therapy strategies in NPC.