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Burkitt's lymphoma (BL)

Written2001-03Antonio Cuneo, Gianluigi Castoldi
Hematology Section, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ferrara, Corso Giovecca 203, Ferrara, Italy

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ICD-Morpho 9687/3 Burkitt lymphoma
Atlas_Id 2077

Clinics and Pathology

Phenotype / cell stem origin Pan-B antigens positive; TdT-, CD10+; CD5-; sIgM+. The cell of origin is a peripheral IgM+ memory B-cell (presence of somatic hypermutation of the Ig gene)
Epidemiology Most common in children (1/3 of lymphomas). In adult it accounts for 3-4% of all lymphomas in western countries and it is frequently associated with immunodeficiency
  • There is an endemic variant, affecting africans, which primarily involves the jaws and other facial bones.
  • The non-endemic variant may be associated with immunodeficiency states and usually presents with abdominal involvement (distal ileum, ciecum, mesentery). The disease is very aggressive and requires prompt treatment with appropriate regimens.
  • Cytology The blast cells in the peripheral blood and bone marrow display a basophilic cytoplasm with characteristic vacuolization, a picture indisinguishable from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) L3 of the FAB classification, which represents the leukemic counterpart of BL.
  • The lymphoma consists of a monomorphic infiltrate of the lymph node by medium-sized cells showing round nuclei with several nucleoli and basophilic cytoplasm. Numerous benign macrophages confer a histologic pattern referred to as "starry sky". Involvement of the peripheral blood and bone marrow may occur.
  • The related form 'Burkitt-lik' lymphoma shows intermediate features between diffuse large cell lymphoma and BL and probably includes different disease entities. It was suggested by the WHO panel that only those cases with c-MYC rearrangement and/or a >99% proliferation fraction as demonstrated by Ki-67 positivity should be classified as Burkitt-like lymphoma
  • Treatment Aggressive regimens specifically designed for this lymphoma must be used
    Evolution Very rapid if untreated. Patients with limited disease and favourable prognostic features at presentation may rapidly show disease dissemination
    Prognosis If treated promptly with appropriate regimens the majority of patients can be cured


    Cytogenetics Morphological
  • The primary chromosome anomaly is the translocation t(8;14)(q24;q32), found in 60-70% of the cases. Variant translocations having in common an 8q24 break, i.e the t(8;22)(q24;q11) and t(2;8)(p12;q24) occur in approximately 10-15% and 2-5% of the cases, respectively. A minority of cases may carry a duplication of chromosome 1, involving the 1q21-25 segment as the only detectable chromosome lesion
  • In the Burkitt-like form there are at least 3 cytogenetic categories: one with an 8q24/c-MYC translocation, one with an 8q24 and 18q21/ BCL2 translocation and another with "miscellaneous" rearrangements, frequently including an 18q21 break
  • Additional anomalies Recurrent chromosome aberrations associated with the 8q24 translocations include 1q21-25 duplications, deletions of 6q11-14, 17p deletions and trisomy 12, +7, +8 and +18.

    Genes involved and Proteins

  • The t(8,14) and the variant t(8;22) and t(2;8) juxtapose IgH sequences and the c-MYC oncogene, bringing about its constitutional expression.
  • The 17p deletion may have a correlation with p53 loss of function, determined by deletion of one allele and inactivating mutation of the remaining allele
  • Result of the chromosomal anomaly

    Fusion Protein
    Oncogenesis Constitutive expression of c-MYC is crucial for the pathogenesis of BL, this protein being a key transcriptional regulator, controlling cell proliferation, differentiation and death. The deregulated expression of c-MYC, caused by the 8q24 translocations, is achieved through multiple mechanisms: a) juxtaposition to regulatory elements of the Ig loci, b) mutations in the c-MYC 5' regulatory regions and, c) aminoacid substitutions occurring in exon 2, making the c-MYC transactivation domain less susceptible to modulation


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    This paper should be referenced as such :
    Cuneo, A ; Castoldi, GL
    Burkitt's lymphoma (BL)
    Atlas Genet Cytogenet Oncol Haematol. 2001;5(2):121-122.
    Free journal version : [ pdf ]   [ DOI ]
    On line version :

    Other genes implicated (Data extracted from papers in the Atlas) [ 25 ]


    External links

    COSMICHisto = - Site = haematopoietic_and_lymphoid_tissue (COSMIC)
    arrayMap (UZH-SIB Zurich)Topo ( C42) Morph ( 9687/3) -   [auto + random 100 samples .. if exist ]   [tabulated segments]
    Other databaseBurkitt lymphomas&subsettype=CLINICALGROUP Lymphomas: Burkitt lymphomas (Clinical group) - ArrayMap (UHZ-SIB)
    REVIEW articlesautomatic search in PubMed
    Last year articlesautomatic search in PubMed
    All articlesautomatic search in PubMed

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    indexed on : Wed Jan 10 17:18:04 CET 2018

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