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West Afr J Med. 2005 Apr-Jun;24(2):139-42.

Burkitt's lymphoma of the head and neck region in a Nigerian tertiary hospital.

Author information

  • 1ORL Unit, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-lfe, Nigeria.

Erratum in

  • West Afr J Med. 2005 Jul-Sep;24(3):189. Adegbeingbe, OD [corrected to Adegbehingbe, BO].



Burkitt's lymphoma is endemic in Nigeria; it forms about 39% of all childhood cancers. In recent times more of these cases are being seen presenting first to the Ear Nose and Throat clinic.


This study is designed to look at the pattern of presentation of head and Neck Burkitt's lymphoma at a Nigerian Tertiary hospital and to evaluate current treatment modality.


It is a retrospective study of all confirmed Burkitt's lymphoma of the head and neck region seen at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Ile Ife (OAUTHC) between 1986 and 2002.


The medical records of all the patients with the histopathologically confirmed Burkitt's lymphoma over a 17-year period (1986-2002) were evaluated. The proportion of the tumor affecting the Head and neck region were noted. The data extracted were entered into a questionnaire and analysis of data was done using the SPSS 10.0 software.


A total of 196 cases of Burkitt's lymphoma were seen over the period out of which 140 (71.4%) were in the head and neck region. There was a male preponderance with the incidence of 72% and 28% in females. The peak age incidence was found to be within the first decade of life. The most common sites that were affected are; the jaw (65.9%), nasal and paranasal sinuses (12.2). Majority of the patients presented with advanced disease. Combination Chemotherapy comprising Cyclophosphamide, Oncovin, Methotrexate and Prednisolone (COMP) was the mainstay of management. The treatment outcome was only favorable in 36.6%. Default rate was (11.7%) while the mortality rate was (12.6%). Relapse\recurrence was found in (5.1%) of cases. Frank drug resistance was found in (2.6%). Blindness was found to be a major morbidity associated with this disease. Septicemia and severe anemia were found to be the major causes of mortality. Some complications of treatment were noted.


The importance of the findings in this work was discussed in line with the existing literature.


Head and neck remain the mostly affected parts in Burkitt's lymphoma in this environment. Presentation with advanced disease is the bane. This partly explains high morbidity and mortality in affected children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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