• Burkitt lymphoma;
  • RLH ;
  • apoptosis;
  • Uganda

Burkitt lymphoma (BL) accounts for 80% of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Uganda. The tumour is fast growing with a very short doubling time. Inhibition of apoptosis, achieved through the apoptosis inhibitor family of proteins enhances survival of cancer cells. The aim of this study was to explore the expression of apoptosis related proteins Survivin, Livin and Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) in BL and comparing it with the expression in reactive follicular hyperplasia. Among the BL cases, survivin was positive in 37 (75%) and negative in 12 (25%). Livin staining was positive in 23 (48%) and negative in 25 (52%) of the BL cases. TSP-1 was positive in 40 (87%) and negative in 6 (13%) of the BL cases. All the 10 reactive lymphoid hyperplasia (RLH) were positive for survivin, livin expression was found in 4 (40%), whereas TSP-1 was positive in 7 (70%) of the RLH cases. Among the BL, there was no statistically significant association between survivin and livin expression (p = 0.6), livin and TSP-1 (p = 1.0) or survivin and TSP-1 (p = 0.6). Likewise no statistical association was found between the expressions of the proteins in RLH. There was no statistically significant difference between the expression frequency of the apoptosis associated proteins examined in BL and RLH. In conclusion, we have demonstrated the expression of inhibitor of apoptosis proteins, survivin and Livin and the pro-apoptotic protein TSP-1 in endemic BL. No significant difference was found between BL and RLH.