• Burkitt lymphoma;
  • post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disorder;
  • Burkitt-PTLD;
  • v-myc myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog (avian);
  • MYC



Burkitt lymphoma post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disorder (Burkitt-PTLD) is a rare form of monomorphic B-cell PTLD for which no standard treatment has been established. Currently, the treatment of Burkitt lymphoma outside the post-transplantation setting involves high doses of alkylating agents, frequent dosing, and intrathecal and/or systemic central nervous system prophylaxis. In PTLD, however, such protocols are associated with considerable toxicity and mortality.


The authors present a retrospective series of 8 adult patients with Burkitt-PTLD. Six patients were reported to the prospective German PTLD registry or were enrolled in the PTLD-1 trial, and 2 patients had received treatment before 2000, thus allowing for comparison with the pre-rituximab era.


Seven of the 8 patients were men. The median age at presentation was 38 years, and the median time since transplantation was 5.7 years. Five of 8 patients had histologically established, Epstein-Barr virus-associated disease, and 7 of 7 patients were positive for a MYC translocation. Five of 8 patients received sequential immunochemotherapy (4 courses of rituximab [R] followed by 4 cycles of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisolone [CHOP] or R plus CHOP [R-CHOP]). In this group, 5 of 5 patients reached complete remission (CR), and their overall survival (OS) was significantly longer (P = .008) compared with the OS for 2 of 8 patients who received first-line CHOP and did not respond. One of 8 patients (who had stage IV disease with meningiosis) received combination therapy (cyclophosphamide pretreatment, rituximab, intrathecal chemotherapy, whole-brain irradiation, and radioimmunotherapy) and reached CR. Overall, 6 of 8 patients reached CR; and, after a median follow-up of 4.7 years (range, 1.7-4.8 years), the median OS was 36.7 months. There was no treatment-related mortality under first-line therapy.


In the largest adult case series in Burkitt-PTLD to date, sequential immunochemotherapy with rituximab followed by standard CHOP or R-CHOP was a both safe and effective treatment. Cancer 2012. © 2012 American Cancer Society.