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Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2005 Mar;44(3):245-50.

The 2000 Burkitt lymphoma trial in Malawi.

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Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg, South Africa.



We previously reported 57% 12-month event free survival (EFS) in Malawian children with stage I to III Burkitt lymphoma (BL) with an intermediate dose chemotherapy protocol lasting 77 days. This protocol was shortened to 42 days and evaluated in children with stage I to IV disease for EFS and toxicity.


All Malawian children admitted to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, from 03/08/2000 to 12/03/2002 with confirmed BL were eligible. A fine needle aspirate, bone marrow aspirate, cerebrospinal fluid cytology, haemoglobin (Hb), white cell count (WCC), malaria smear, ELISA for HIV, and abdominal ultrasound were performed routinely. Murphy staging was used. The first dose of chemotherapy (COP1) consisted of 300 mg cyclophosphamide (CPM), 1 mg vincristine, and 60 mg prednisone given on day 1 and followed by COP2 on day 8 (only for patients with larger tumour volumes, stage III or IV disease). The vincristine dose in COP2 was 2 mg. COMP1 and 2 given on days 22 and 36 consisted of 500 mg CPM, 2 mg vincristine, 60 mg prednisone, and 2 g methotrexate. All doses were calculated per body surface area. Intrathecal methotrexate and hydrocortisone were given with COP1 and 2.


Forty-two patients, 30 boys and 12 girls median ages 6 and 7.5 years, respectively, had Murphy stage I(n5), II(n8), III(n21), and IV(n8) disease. The face was involved in 74%, abdomen in 55%, bone marrow in 14%, kidneys in 24%, and 12% had paraplegia. Fourteen children died during or shortly after completion of chemotherapy. Three of these were disease related. Twelve patients suffered a local relapse after 57-328 days, and one a CNS relapse at 76 days. The projected EFS at 12 months is 50% in stage I, 50% in stage II, 24% in stage III, 25% in stage IV, and 33% for all patients. The cumulative mean dose of CPM was 62 mg/kg in survivors and 64 mg/kg in children who relapsed. One third of patients experienced significant marrow suppression, and infections after COMP1.


Thirty-three percent of children are in first remission at 12 months. The morbidity and mortality of treatment was high. The high relapse rate in all stages may be due to the low cumulative dose of CPM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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