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Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2008:341-8. doi: 10.1182/asheducation-2008.1.341.

Burkitt lymphoma in adults.

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  • 1Lymphoma Program, James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


This review will begin with a detail of the revision of the WHO classification, and pathological definitions of Burkitt lymphoma. Over the past several years, molecular understanding of Burkitt lymphoma has improved significantly. Using gene expression profiling, a genomic "signature" of Burkitt lymphoma may be identified, that has fidelity beyond c-myc expression, and the presence of the classical t(8;14). Then, evaluation and therapy of the adult patient with Burkitt lymphoma will be reviewed. Relatively few data exist on optimal therapy of the adult patient with Burkitt lymphoma. Principles of therapy should include high doses of alkylating agents, frequent administration of chemotherapy, and attention to central nervous system (CNS) prophylaxis with high doses of systemic chemotherapy, intrathecal therapy, or both. The outcome of adult patients with Burkitt lymphoma, particularly those over 40 years of age, is inferior to the outcome of younger patients, but may be improving over the past few years. Results from an international collaborative effort, which are helpful in evaluating results of Burkitt lymphoma therapy in adults, will be presented. HIV-associated Burkitt lymphoma, and elderly patients with Burkitt lymphoma, comprise special clinical situations that will be also covered in this review.

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