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Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is a very fast-growing type of cancer. It is a form of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. There are 3 recognized forms of BL:
Signs and symptoms may differ depending on the form of BL and the organs or body systems involved. When it spreads, weakness and fatigue often develop. Lymphoma cells may build up in the lymph nodes and other organs, causing swelling. Central nervous system involvement is possible with all forms of BL, particularly when there is advanced-stage disease.
The exact cause of BL is not known. EBV infection appears to play a role in virtually all cases of endemic (African) BL, and a minority of sporadic and immunodeficiency-associated BL. While acquired (not inherited) genetic changes involving the MYC gene and other genes are present within BL cancer cells, it is unclear what causes these genetic changes to occur.
Without timely treatment, BL is rapidly fatal. Treatment involves intensive chemotherapy, which includes chemotherapy to the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The majority of people treated with aggressive therapy achieve long-term remission.
Source: GARD Last updated on 05-01-20
Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is not an inherited condition. It almost always occurs in people with no family history of BL. To our knowledge, there has been one report (in 1986) describing BL in more than one family member (two sisters). However, this occurrence was thought to be due to an inherited lymphocyte disorder that may have predisposed the sisters to developing BL.
While BL is associated with genetic changes involving the MYC gene and immunoglobulin genes (genes that provide instructions for antibodies), these genetic changes are acquired (not inherited), and are limited to the cancer cells. They are not passed on to offspring.
Last updated on 05-01-20
Without timely treatment, BL is rapidly fatal. However, the majority of people treated with aggressive therapy achieve long-term remission.
In general, children with BL have better survival rates than adults with BL. The prognosis in children correlates with the extent of disease at the time of diagnosis. Those with limited disease when diagnosed and treated have a survival rate greater than 90%. Children with more extensive disease, especially involving the bone marrow and central nervous system, have long- term survival rates of 50-90%.
While the majority of adults with BL also achieve long-term remission with aggressive therapy, adults (particularly those with advanced stage disease) do more poorly than children. In addition to the extent of disease at the time of diagnosis, prognosis depends on the age of the adult. In general, survival rates decrease with age and are lowest for elderly patients. Unfortunately, specific statistics regarding the prognosis for adults with BL appear to be more scarce.
The outlook is poor for both children and adults if BL returns after improvement (relapses) or does not go into remission as a result of the first cycle of chemotherapy.
Last updated on 05-01-20
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