This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is a very fast-growing type of cancer. It is a form of B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There are 3 recognized forms of BL:
Signs and symptoms may differ depending on the form of BL and the organs or body systems involved. When it spreads, weakness and fatigue often develop. Lymphoma cells may build up in the lymph nodes and other organs, causing swelling. Central nervous system involvement is possible with all forms of BL, particularly when there is advanced-stage disease.
The exact cause of BL is not known. EBV infection appears to play a role in virtually all cases of endemic (African) BL, and a minority of sporadic and immunodeficiency-associated BL. While acquired (not inherited) genetic changes involving the MYC gene and other genes are present within BL cancer cells, it is unclear what causes these genetic changes to occur.
Without timely treatment, BL is rapidly fatal. Treatment involves intensive chemotherapy, which includes chemotherapy to the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The majority of people treated with aggressive therapy achieve long-term remission.
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