• Burkitt lymphoma;
  • prognostic factors;
  • SEER;
  • epidemiology;
  • race;
  • rituximab


Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is an aggressive but potentially curable lymphoma, previously described in small, single-institution studies. This study evaluated prognostic factors for survival in adult patients with BL and a potential outcome improvement over the past decade in a population-based cohort.


Adult patients with BL diagnosed between 1998 and 2009 were selected from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. Prognostic factors were identified in a multivariate model for relative survival (RS), and trends in survival were evaluated using period analysis.


The study cohort included 2284 patients, with a median age of 49 years and male predominance (2.6:1). Gastrointestinal tract and the head and neck were the most common sites of extranodal disease. Older age, black race/ethnicity, and advanced stage were associated with a worse survival. In the period analysis, trends in improved survival between 1998 and 2009 were seen, except for patients older than 60 years and black patients, whose survival did not improve. A prognostic score divided patients into 4 groups: low-risk (5-year RS: 71%), low-intermediate (5-year RS: 55%), high-intermediate (5-year RS: 41%), and high-risk (5-year RS: 29%; P  < .001).


The outcome of patients younger than 60 years with BL improved over the past decade. Age, race, and stage have a prognostic role for survival. The proposed score can help inform prognosis in newly diagnosed patients and stratify participants in future trials. Cancer 2013;119:3672–3679. © 2013 American Cancer Society.