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Br J Haematol. 2011 Sep;154(6):696-703. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2011.08772.x. Epub 2011 Jun 28.

Lymphomas in sub-Saharan Africa--what can we learn and how can we help in improving diagnosis, managing patients and fostering translational research?

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Hammersmith Hospital & Imperial College, London, UKUniv Paris-Sud, Paris, FranceThe Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USAUniversity of Basel, Basel, SwitzerlandSaint Mary Hospital, Lacor, Gulu, UgandaUniversity of NairobiAga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, KenyaMansoura University, Mansoura, EgyptUniversity of Siena, Siena, ItalyNairobi Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya; Nairobi, KenyaMuhimbili National Hospital, Dares salaam, TanzaniaObafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, NigeriaU.C.H, Ibadan, NigeriaINCTR, Brussels, Belgium.


Approximately 30 000 cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) occur in the equatorial belt of Africa each year. Apart from the fact that Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is very common among children and adolescents in Africa and that an epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is currently ongoing in this part of the world, very little is known about lymphomas in Africa. This review provides information regarding the current infrastructure for diagnostics in sub-Saharan Africa. The results on the diagnostic accuracy and on the distribution of different lymphoma subsets in sub-Saharan Africa were based on a review undertaken by a team of lymphoma experts on 159 fine needle aspirate samples and 467 histological samples during their visit to selected sub-Saharan African centres is presented. Among children (<18 years of age), BL accounted for 82% of all NHL, and among adults, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma accounted for 55% of all NHLs. Among adults, various lymphomas other than BL, including T-cell lymphomas, were encountered. The review also discusses the current strategies of the International Network of Cancer Treatment and Research on improving the diagnostic standards and management of lymphoma patients and in acquiring reliable clinical and pathology data in sub-Saharan Africa for fostering high-quality translational research.


epidemiology; lymphomas; malignant haematology

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