What is Burkitts Lymphoma?

Malignancy in white blood cells causes several types of cancers. A very rare type of a canecr belonging to this class is the

Burkitts lymphoma

. It comprises only two percent of the cancers of its group.50 percent of the patients diagnosed with this cancer survive for five years.

This disease is a sub-category of a wider group of cancer. The technical name of this group is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. According to the National Cancer Institute, 65,540 cases of this cancer group were reported in the United States and 20,210 people lost their lives as a result in 2010.

Symptoms of Burkitt’s Lymphoma:

  • Abdominal tumor
  • Facial bone tumor
  • Jaw tumor
  • Jaw lump
  • Cervical lymph node tumor
  • Salivary gland tumor

In 90 percent cases of AIDS, the patients develop this cancer. Sporadic type of this disease is common in certain specific locations of Africa continent. Children in equatorial Africa suffer from the endemic variant of this ailment.

What Research on Burkitts Lymphoma Discovered?

According to a joint research study carried out at the University in Philadelphia, PA, and the University of Siena in Siena, Italy in March 2011, two proteins, P16 and P14 have been identified to play key role in the development of this cancer. The results of this study are published in the journal Cell cycle.

The researchers found that these genes are inactivated in people suffering from this cancer. Such an undesirable development is caused by the genetic mutation. Owing to this event, the malignant cells become resistant to anti-cancer drugs and grow at an uncontrollable rate.

An interesting observation of this study was that in this Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, the position of the DNA molecules remains unaltered in these genes. But, mutation changes the manner in which the instructions are read by the RNA molecules. As a result, the produced proteins of P16 and P14 genes are ineffective to carry out their regular task of tumor suppression.

The researchers succeeded in reactivating these vital tumor suppression genes in their study. As a result, there was decline in the growth of malignant cells and raise in their self-programmed death.

Treatment of Burkitt’s Lymphoma:

The present study has definitely opened up a novel treatment option for this Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. However, its standard remedies are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, surgery and bone transplant.

The time of the diagnosis plays a vital role in deciding the effectiveness of the chemotherapy treatment. The 8-year survival rate of patients who are given chemo drugs like rituximab is 91 percent if the risks are low.

It is 67 percent if the risk of side effects ranges between high and intermediate. If the risks are high, the survival rate for 8 years after the diagnosis of

Burkitts Lymphoma

reduces to 31 percent.

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