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Am J Surg Pathol. 2003 Jun;27(6):818-27.

Burkitt lymphoma arising in organ transplant recipients: a clinicopathologic study of five cases.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


We report five cases of Burkitt lymphoma arising in organ transplant recipients. There were four men and one woman with a mean age of 35 years. All were solid organ recipients with three renal, one liver, and one double lung transplantation. The time interval between organ transplantation and lymphoma averaged 4.5 years. Patients typically presented with high-stage disease with generalized lymphadenopathy and bone marrow involvement. Histology showed classic Burkitt lymphoma or atypical variant/Burkitt-like morphology. C-MYC rearrangement, including three cases with immunoglobulin heavy chain and two cases with lambda light chain, and Epstein-Barr virus were detected in all the cases. Additional chromosomal abnormalities were present in two of three cases and p53 mutation was found in one of three cases. Aberrant genotype and phenotype were frequently encountered, including minor monoclonal or oligoclonal T-cell populations and undetectable surface immunoglobulin light chain expression. Four patients received antilymphoma regimens, with combination chemotherapy (three patients) and/or Rituximab (three patients), in addition to reduction of immunosuppression. All four patients achieved complete remission. We conclude that posttransplant Burkitt lymphoma represents a characteristic clinicopathologic entity and occurs later after transplantation. Genotypic and phenotypic aberrations are often present. Rituximab may be an effective alternative to conventional combination chemotherapy in the treatment of a posttransplant Burkitt lymphoma.

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