What is the WHO classification of Burkitt lymphoma/Burkitt-like lymphoma (BL/BLL)?

Updated: Dec 20, 2019
  • Author: Ali H Kanbar, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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The 2008 WHO modification of the REAL classification of NHL is based on morphology and cell lineage. The WHO classification identifies the following three clinical variants of Burkitt lymphoma (BL) [25] :

  • Endemic (eBL) – The most common form of childhood malignancy in equatorial Africa, associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection

  • Sporadic (sBL) – The majority of cases are in the United States and Europe; up to 30% are associated with EBV

  • Immunodeficiency associated – Occurs in patients with HIV infection, post-transplantation immunosuppression, and congenital immunodeficiency

The 2016 revision of the WHO classification recognizes the following two molecular entities [2] :

  • Burkitt lymphoma - TCF3 or ID3 mutations in up to about 70% of cases
  • Burkitt-like lymphoma with 11q aberration - New provisional entity that closely resembles Burkitt lymphoma but lacks MYC rearrangement and has some other distinctive features

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