The Burkitt-like lymphomas: A Southwest Oncology Group study delineating phenotypic, genotypic, and clinical features

Rita M. Braziel, Daniel A. Arber, Marilyn L. Slovak, Margaret L. Gulley, Catherine Spier, Carl Kjeldsberg, Joseph Unger, Thomas P. Miller, Raymond Tubbs, Catherine Leith, Richard I. Fisher, Thomas M. Grogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The Revised European-American Lymphoma classification gives Burkitt-like lymphoma (BLL) provisional status, leaving unresolved the differential diagnosis with Burkitt lymphoma (BL) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). This study compared the biologic features of adult BLL and DLBCL. The phenotypic distinction between BLL and DLBCL was determined by immunohistochemical staining of frozen tissue from 13 patients with BLL and 55 patients with DLBCL by using an extensive antibody panel including Ki-67, CD10, CD11a/lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1α (LFA-1α), CD18/LFA-1β, CD58/LFA-3, and CD54/intercellular adhesion molecule, CD8 for tumor-infiltrating cytotoxic T cells (T-TILs), CD44 homing receptor, and p53 and Bcl-2 oncogenic proteins. Compared with DLBCL, BLL had a higher proliferative rate (mean Ki-67, 88% versus 53%), greater expression of CD10 and p53 antigens, and decreased expression of Bcl-2. BLL cases had a consistent absence of one or more cell adhesion molecules (92% versus 27%), low T-TIL numbers, and absence of CD44 homing receptor (92% versus 14%). The t(8;14) translocation was identified in 80% of BLL cases, but no patients with BLL had the t(14;18) translocation. In a 10-year analysis, median survival of patients with BLL was 1.2 years, and that of patients with DLBCL was 2.5 years. Although the proportion of patients cured was similar in the 2 groups, BLL patients had an increased risk of early death. We conclude that BLL can be recognized by its combined morphologic and phenotypic features and that it represents a high-grade lymphoma much closer to BL than DLBCL. Retention of the BLL category or inclusion of BLL as a variant of BL is biologically and clinically more appropriate than absorbing the category of BLL into DLBCL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3713-3720
Number of pages8
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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