Haematological Malignancy Diagnostic Service

Burkitt Lymphoma

The Concept of the Disease

Burkitt lymphoma is a highly aggressive tumour of germinal centre B-cells defined by phenotype and the presence of a MYC rearrangement.

How is it Diagnosed?

Tissue Biopsy or Bone Marrow

  • Highly proliferative large lymphoid cells replacing normal tissue architecture
  • An aberrant germinal centre B-cell phenotype detected by flow cytometry or immunocytochemistry, including absence of BCL2 protein expression
  • The presence of a balanced translocation involving MYC and immunoglobulin heavy or light chain genes detected by FISH
Tissue Biopsy Imprint Morphology

Tissue Biopsy Morphology

Ki67 Staining
CD10 Staining
MYC Rearrangment
t(8;14) positive – c-myc/IgH 8 probe set

What is the Clinical Outcome?

BL is a highly aggressive malignancy and is rapidly progressive in most cases. R-CHOP chemotherapy used to treat DLBCL is not effective. In contrast about 60% of those treated with R-CODOX/M-IVAC are cured and the incidence of post treatment relapse is low. However, in contrast to R-CHOP this treatment has significant morbidity and mortality and accurate diagnosis is essential.

Age and overall fitness at presentation are the major prognostic factors.