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Burkitt Lymphoma

What is Burkitt lymphoma?

Burkitt lymphoma is a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is highly aggressive and grows from the B-cells. There are three forms of this cancer: endemic Burkitt lymphoma, sporadic Burkitt lymphoma, and immunodeficiency-related Burkitt lymphoma. 

This disease is much more common in children, composing about 30% of the cases of non-Hodgkin lymphomas in kids. It is also much more likely to affect males. 

What are the symptoms of Burkitt lymphoma?

Symptoms of this cancer can differ depending on which form one has and which parts of the body it affects. Weakness, fatigue, night sweats, and unexplained weight loss are common symptoms. As tumors are often in the abdomen and chest, pain in those areas is common as well. 

What causes Burkitt lymphoma?

Endemic Burkitt lymphoma is associated with the Epstein-Barr virus. The immunodeficiency-related form happens in those with HIV, AIDS, or who are taking immunosuppressive drugs following an organ transplant. 

This cancer is typically associated with a mutation on chromosome 8 in a transcription factor called c-MYC. This has to do with cell growth. 

How is Burkitt lymphoma diagnosed?

Doctors will begin the diagnostic process with a physical exam and evaluation of medical history. A biopsy of the tumor will be used to confirm a diagnosis. In order to assess the spread of the cancer, bone marrow and spinal fluid will be examined. 

What are the treatments for Burkitt lymphoma?

A combination of chemotherapies is most commonly used to treat this cancer. For some patients a stem cell transplant may be the best option. 

Where can I find out more about Burkitt lymphoma?

Burkitt Lymphoma Articles