Molecular diagnosis of Burkitt's lymphoma

Sandeep S. Dave, Kai Fu, George W. Wright, Lloyd T. Lam, Philip Kluin, Evert Jan Boerma, Timothy C. Greiner, Dennis D. Weisenburger, Andreas Rosenwald, German Ott, Hans Konrad Müller-Hermelink, Randy D. Gascoyne, Jan Delabie, Lisa M. Rimsza, Rita M. Braziel, Thomas M. Grogan, Elias Campo, Elaine S. Jaffe, Bhavana J. Dave, Warren SangerMartin Bast, Julie M. Vose, James O. Armitage, Joseph M. Connors, Erlend B. Smeland, Stein Kvaloy, Harald Holte, Richard I. Fisher, Thomas P. Miller, Emilio Montserrat, Wyndham H. Wilson, Manisha Bahl, Hong Zhao, Liming Yang, John Powell, Richard Simon, Wing C. Chan, Louis M. Staudt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

671 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The distinction between Burkitt's lymphoma and diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma is crucial because these two types of lymphoma require different treatments. We examined whether gene-expression profiling could reliably distinguish Burkitt's lymphoma from diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma. METHODS: Tumor-biopsy specimens from 303 patients with aggressive lymphomas were profiled for gene expression and were also classified according to morphology, immunohistochemistry, and detection of the t(8;14) c-myc translocation. RESULTS: A classifier based on gene expression correctly identified all 25 pathologically verified cases of classic Burkitt's lymphoma. Burkitt's lymphoma was readily distinguished from diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma by the high level of expression of c-myc target genes, the expression of a subgroup of germinal-center B-cell genes, and the low level of expression of major-histocompatibility-complex class I genes and nuclear factor-.B target genes. Eight specimens with a pathological diagnosis of diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma had the typical gene-expression profile of Burkitt's lymphoma, suggesting they represent cases of Burkitt's lymphoma that are difficult to diagnose by current methods. Among 28 of the patients with a molecular diagnosis of Burkitt's lymphoma, the overall survival was superior among those who had received intensive chemotherapy regimens instead of lower-dose regimens. CONCLUSIONS: Gene-expression profiling is an accurate, quantitative method for distinguishing Burkitt's lymphoma from diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2431-2442
Number of pages12
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 8 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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