Burkitt's Lymphoma

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Burkitt's lymphoma (also known as Burkitt Cell Leukaemia - BL is a B-cell neoplasm composed of monomorphic, medium-sized cells with basophilic cytoplasm and a high proliferation fraction, characterized by translocation and deregulation of the c-myc gene on chromosome 8. This disorder often presents with extranodal disease and occurs most often in children (endemic, sporadic) and immunocompromised hosts.

There is an extremely high rate of proliferation as well as a high rate of spontaneous cell death. This results in two characteristic findings:

  • The growth fraction of these lymphomas is very high, with frequent mitotic figures being seen and the fraction of Ki-67+/MIB-1+ cells approaching 100 percent
  • A "starry-sky" pattern is usually present, caused by numerous benign macrophages that have ingested apoptotic tumor cells