Dr. Roschewski on the Treatment of Burkitt Lymphoma in Adults

Mark J. Roschewski, MD
Published: Thursday, Aug 16, 2018



Mark J. Roschewski, MD, staff clinician, associate research clinician, clinical director, Malignancies Branch of the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, discusses the treatment of Burkitt lymphoma in adult patients.

There is a difference in the way that patients with Burkitt lymphoma are treated based on their age, says Roschewski. This is a lymphoma that occurs more frequently in pediatric patients, many of whom can often be cured with intensive chemotherapy. The cure rate is as high as 95%, but the outcomes for adults are not as good, Roschewski says. This is due in part to the toxicities associated with intensive chemotherapy.

It is common that adults with Burkitt lymphoma either discontinue treatment with chemotherapy, or die of the toxicities—making the need for therapy very high. This problem came about because the treatments for all Burkitt lymphoma were derived from pediatrics, says Roschewski. Children metabolize chemotherapy much more efficiently than adults and are less likely to have comorbidities, allowing for dose-intensity and high cure rates.


Mark J. Roschewski, MD, staff clinician, associate research clinician, clinical director, Malignancies Branch of the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, discusses the treatment of Burkitt lymphoma in adult patients.

There is a difference in the way that patients with Burkitt lymphoma are treated based on their age, says Roschewski. This is a lymphoma that occurs more frequently in pediatric patients, many of whom can often be cured with intensive chemotherapy. The cure rate is as high as 95%, but the outcomes for adults are not as good, Roschewski says. This is due in part to the toxicities associated with intensive chemotherapy.

It is common that adults with Burkitt lymphoma either discontinue treatment with chemotherapy, or die of the toxicities—making the need for therapy very high. This problem came about because the treatments for all Burkitt lymphoma were derived from pediatrics, says Roschewski. Children metabolize chemotherapy much more efficiently than adults and are less likely to have comorbidities, allowing for dose-intensity and high cure rates.

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