Burkitt's Lymphoma

Also known as: Burkitt’s tumor, malignant lymphoma Burkitt type

What is Burkitt's lymphoma?

Lymphomas are cancers classified mostly according to the type of white cell (lymphocyte) involved (B-lymphocytes or T-lymphocytes).

Burkitt’s lymphoma starts in B-lymphocytes (which are immune cells that normally secrete antibodies), so-called because they mature in the bone marrow of many bones. There are three types of Burkitt's lymphoma, they're fast growing and can affect young children and adults.

What causes Burkitt's lymphoma?

In some instances, a gene mutation may be the cause. Burkitt’s lymphoma is also associated with an infection from the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). A weakened immune system, such as from an HIV infection, can also cause Burkitt’s lymphoma. In some cases the cause is unknown.

What are the symptoms of Burkitt's lymphoma?

The symptoms depend on the type of Burkitt's lymphoma. Tumors can involve the jaw, brain and abdomen with enlargement of the liver and spleen, lymph nodes and other organs. As it grows, it can lead to weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, night sweats, weakness and even paralysis.

What are Burkitt's lymphoma care options?

Chemotherapy is the primary treatment for Burkitt’s lymphoma. This may be accompanied by other treatments such as radiation therapy, steroids, other medications, stem cell transplants and, in some cases, surgery.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: January 06, 2021 04:14 PM

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