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A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M.; 2013.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Burkitt lymphoma

B-cell lymphoma; High-grade B-cell lymphoma

Last reviewed: June 5, 2012.

Burkitt lymphoma is a very fast growing form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Burkitt lymphoma was first discovered in children in certain parts of Africa, but it also occurs in the United States.

The African type of Burkitt lymphoma is closely associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the main cause of infectious mononucleosis. The North American form of Burkitt lymphoma is not linked to EBV.

People with HIV have an increased risk for this condition. Burkitt lymphoma is most often seen in males.

Symptoms

Burkitt lymphoma may first be noticed as a swelling of the lymph nodes (glands) in the neck, groin, or under the arm. These swollen lymph nodes are often painless, but can grow very rapidly.

In the types commonly seen in the United States, the cancer usually starts in the belly area (abdomen). The disease can also start in the ovaries, testes, brain, and spinal fluid.

Symptoms include:

Signs and tests

Treatment

Chemotherapy is used to treat this type of cancer. Commonly used medicines include prednisone, cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, vincristine, cytarabine, doxorubicin, methotrexate, and etoposide.

Expectations (prognosis)

More than half of those with Burkitt lymphoma can be cured with intensive chemotherapy. The cure rate may be lower if the cancer spreads to the bone marrow or spinal fluid. The outlook is poor if the cancer comes back after a remission.

Complications

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of Burkitt lymphoma.

References

  1. Bierman PJ, Armitage JO. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 191.
  2. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 2012. Version 2.2012.

Review Date: 6/5/2012.

Reviewed by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

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Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

What works?

  • Therapeutic interventions for Burkitt lymphoma in childrenTherapeutic interventions for Burkitt lymphoma in children
    Burkitt lymphoma is an important cancer, particularly in children. It is a fast growing tumour but also very sensitive to chemotherapy. It presents a challenge in endemic areas due to late presentation and an often incomplete complement of drugs available for treatment. Different regimens are in use for treatment with varied success rates. This review aims to evaluate these treatments to assess their effectiveness especially for later stages. The review identified 13 trials involving 1824 participants. However, data presentable for the review were only available in 10 trials with 732 participants. The data were difficult to collate because of the quality of the study methods and the reporting of the results; outcome measures differed between trials and they were mainly small‐sized trials. No significant differences in overall survival were seen between studies aimed at inducing remission. Adverse events reported were mostly due to infections and reductions in blood cell counts. The more recent studies were focused on using less intensive treatment regimens as they could provide similar responses with lower risk of adverse effects.
See all (5) ...

Figures

  • Lymphatic system.
    Lymphoma, malignant - CT scan.

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