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Abdominal Burkitt-type lymphomas in Algeria.

British Journal of Cancer
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Medicine
  • Social Sciences


In a previous retrospective analysis from the principal paediatric centres of Algeria, Burkitt-type lymphomas (BL) were shown to account for around 46.5% of the total childhood non-Hodgkin's malignant lymphomas in that country. In the present study, a series of 49 abdominal BL from the Paediatric Clinic of Surgery, Mustapha Hospital, Algiers, has been studied. The age distribution shows a peak between 4 and 5 years of age, and the sex ratio is (M:F) 2.26:1. The disease is characterized by a rapid evolution in the absence of therapy. The major problem is an explosive form of the disease, which at present seems difficult to control in this country. Fifteen of the 49 patients (30.6%) died before completion of the first course of chemotherapy; however, complete remission (CR) was obtained for 30 patients (61%). Overall survival was 42.85% (21/49), whereas survival of patients who reached CR is 70% (21/30). When CR was obtained, deaths were related to cerebrospinal fluid involvement, local recurrence, secondary bone marrow involvement or therapeutic accidents. All patients alive with no evidence of disease (NED) 8-months after CR can be considered definitively cured. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) serology performed on 31 BL patients and on a control group of 25 children with other malignant tumours showed that most Algerian BL have elevated EBV titres. A search for viral markers within malignant cells in 17 patients indicated that 88% (15/17) of the BL cases were EBV-associated. Analysis of the immunological and cytogenetic data showed that, as in the rest of the world, these BL cases involve proliferation of B-cell-type lymphocytes, with characteristic cytogenetic translocations involving chromosome 8. This report represents the most detailed description so far of BL from an area in non-equatorial Africa and the first report of a large series from North Africa.

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