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Keywords:

  • Burkitt lymphoma;
  • adults;
  • pathology;
  • prognostic factors;
  • treatment;
  • outcome

Summary

The diagnosis of Burkitt Lymphoma (BL) and B-cell lymphomas unclassifiable with features intermediate between Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma and BL (BLU) in adults remains problematic even with immunophenotyping and MYC gene analysis. Gene expression profiling may improve categorization but is not routinely available. BL and its variants should be treated with specific regimens incorporating intensive courses of chemotherapy with fractionated alkylating agents and cell cycle phase-specific agents that readily cross the blood brain barrier. Subsequent courses should be given as soon as haematological recovery occurs, with the whole course completed within a few months. A number of regimens have been developed that encompass these principles but there have been no comparative randomized trials. The results from several studies suggest that the addition of rituximab is highly efficacious and this may be particularly valuable in older patients. It is usual to employ ‘risk-adapted’ strategies in the treatment of BL but these must be continually re-evaluated, and ‘response-adapted’ approaches should be explored. The role of transplantation is limited and largely confined to autologous transplants in patients who only achieve a partial response on front-line therapy or who have a chemosensitive relapse. Further advances will be greatly facilitated by randomized trials, which will require international collaboration.