Burkitt's Lymphoma Treatment

lymphatic system

A cancer of the lymphatic system, which is a part of the body’s immune system, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) also is referred to as non-Hodgkin lymphoma or lymphoma. In this form of cancer, two types of white blood cells called B-lymphocytes (B-cells) and T-lymphocytes (T-cells) that work to fight off infections become cancerous. Approximately 65,000 new cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are expected to be diagnosed in 2010.1

There are many different forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which are typically classified by cell type (B-cell lymphomas or T-cell lymphomas) or rate of growth (aggressive/fast-growing or indolent/slow-growing).

Burkitt's lymphoma

Burkitt’s lymphoma, also referred to as diffuse small noncleaved cell lymphoma, is a rare form of B-cell NHL that mainly affects young adults and children. It is one of the fastest growing types of lymphoma that can affect the bowel, central nervous system, jaw, kidneys, ovaries and other various organs.

There are three types of Burkitt’s lymphoma:

  1. Endemic, which is found mainly in children in Africa;
  2. Sporadic, which is found throughout the world; and,
  3. Immunodeficiency-related, which is usually found in people with AIDS.

Treatment of Burkitt’s lymphoma may include one or more of the following treatment options:

Given intravenously or by mouth, a combination of one or more chemotherapy agents is usually given to treat this form of lymphoma. Even if the Burkitt’s lymphoma has not yet been detected in the brain or spinal cord, chemotherapy may be given directly to the central nervous system as a preventive therapy.
Radiation Therapy
For the treatment of Burkitt’s lymphoma, radiation may be given as a preventive treatment directly to the central nervous system to help stop the spread of the disease in the brain or spinal cord.
Stem Cell Transplantation
A stem cell transplant may be considered in some patients with Burkitt’s lymphoma. This form of treatment occurs when high doses of chemotherapy or radiation are given to destroy bone marrow cells (where white blood cells develop) and then are replaced with healthy stem cells, which form new white blood cells, previously removed from the patient or a donor.


  1. National Cancer Institute. Non Hodgkin Lymphoma Cancer Home Page. Accessed on January 2, 2011.


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