Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Highly Effective, Low-Intensity Therapy for Burkitt Lymphoma

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, November 14, 2013
Bookmark and Share
NIH study finds treatment in adult patients leads to long-term survival rates of upwards of 90 percent.

Standard treatment for Burkitt lymphoma involves high-dose chemotherapy, which has a high rate of toxicity, including death, and cures only 60 percent of adult patients. This trial was conducted by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and appeared Nov. 14, 2013, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Burkitt lymphoma is the most aggressive type of lymphoma, which is a cancer that begins in cells of the immune system. It is more common in equatorial Africa than in Western countries. In Uganda, for example, the estimated prevalence of Burkitt lymphoma is between 5 and 20 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, whereas in the United States, according to NCI’s statistical database for 2001-2009, prevalence was 0.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Cure rates for Burkitt lymphoma in Western countries approach 90 percent in children, which is higher than adult cure rates seen prior to this new approach to treatment, whereas only 30 percent to 50 percent of children in Africa are cured due to an inability to safely administer high-dose treatment. Thus, there is an important need for less toxic and more effective therapies.

Wyndham H. Wilson M.D. Ph.D., head of NCI’s Lymphoma Therapeutics Section, and colleagues conducted the trial at NIH’s Clinical Center. The trial involved two variants of EPOCH-R, a chemotherapy regimen that includes the drugs etoposide (E), prednisone (P), vincristine (Oncovin), cyclophosphamide (C), doxorubicin (Hydrodoxorubicin), and rituximab (R). EPOCH-R involves longer exposures to lower concentrations of drugs instead of briefer exposures to higher concentrations of drugs. Previously, Wilson’s team found that EPOCH-R was very effective for treating mediastinal B-cell lymphoma, a disease that is distinct from Burkitt lymphoma.

Thirty patients with previously untreated Burkitt lymphoma were included in the trial. The patients received one of the two EPOCH-R variants, depending on their HIV status. Burkitt is a disease that occurs frequently in immune-suppressed AIDS patients. Nineteen HIV-negative patients received dose-adjusted (DA)-EPOCH-R, whereas 11 HIV-positive patients received SC-EPOCH-RR, which is a short-course (SC) variant of EPOCH-R that includes two doses of rituximab per treatment cycle and has a lower treatment intensity than DA-EPOCH-R. Adjustment of dose levels is done to try to provide the optimum amount of drug based on a person’s tolerance of chemotherapy. The median age of the patients was 33 years old and most had intermediate- or high-risk disease. The principal toxicities seen in the trial were fever and neutropenia (low white blood cell counts); no treatment-related deaths occurred. With median follow-up times of 86 and 73 months, the overall survival rates were 100 percent and 90 percent, respectively, with DA-EPOCH-R and SC-EPOCH-RR.

“The toxicity of EPOCH-R-based treatment in Burkitt lymphoma is considerably less than that reported with standard Burkitt regimens,” said Wilson. “Furthermore, these two regimens were highly effective in adult patients, who have significantly worse outcomes than children.”

“These promising results with low-toxicity treatment suggest that this approach may be effective and worth investigating in certain geographic and economically challenged regions where Burkitt lymphoma is highly prevalent as well as in adult populations,” said Kieron Dunleavy M.D., NCI, and first author of the study.

Based on these results, two trials to confirm the efficacy of EPOCH-R therapy in adult and pediatric Burkitt lymphoma patients are under way.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Batten Disease may Benefit from Gene Therapy
NIH-funded animal study suggests one-shot approach to injecting genes.
Friday, November 13, 2015
NIH Researchers Link Single Gene Variation to Obesity
Variation in the BDNF gene may affect brain’s regulation of appetite, study suggests.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Researchers Identify Potential Alternative to CRISPR-Cas Genome Editing Tools
New Cas enzymes shed light on evolution of CRISPR-Cas systems.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Potential Alternative to CRISPR-Cas Genome Editing Tools
New Cas enzymes shed light on evolution of CRISPR-Cas systems.
Friday, October 23, 2015
Charting Genetic Variation Across the Globe
An international team of scientists has created the world’s largest catalog of human genetic differences in populations around the globe.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Gene Therapy Staves Off Blindness from Retinitis Pigmentosa in Canine Model
NIH-funded study suggests therapeutic window may extend to later-stage disease.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Scientists Develop Genetic Blueprint of Inner Ear Cell Development
Two studies in mice use new technique to provide insight into cell development critical for hearing, balance.
Saturday, October 17, 2015
NIH Breast Cancer Research to Focus On Prevention
A new phase of the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP), focused on prevention, is being launched at the National Institutes of Health.
Friday, October 09, 2015
NIH Grantees Win 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The 2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry has been awarded to NIH grantees Paul Modrich, Ph.D., of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C.; and Aziz Sancar, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C.,.
Thursday, October 08, 2015
New Gene Therapy for Vision Loss From a Mitochondrial Disease
NIH-funded study shows success in targeting mitochondrial DNA in mice.
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
NIH Funding Targets Gaps in Biomedical Research
New awards support emerging issues in cutting-edge biomedical research fields.
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
Scientists Test New Gene Therapy for Vision Loss from a Mitochondrial Disease
NIH-funded study shows success in targeting mitochondrial DNA in mice.
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
Dormant Viral Genes May Awaken to Cause ALS
NIH human and mouse study may open an unexplored path for finding treatments.
Thursday, October 01, 2015
Scientists Create World’s Largest Catalog of Human Genomic Variation
An international team of scientists from the 1000 Genomes Project Consortium has created the world’s largest catalog of genomic differences among humans, providing researchers with powerful clues to help them establish why some people are susceptible to various diseases.
Thursday, October 01, 2015
Genetic Adaptations to Diet and Climate
Researchers found genetic variations in the Inuit of Greenland that reflect adaptations to their specific diet and climate.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Scientific News
New Class of RNA Tumor Suppressors Identified
Two short, “housekeeping” RNA molecules block cancer growth by binding to an important cancer-associated protein called KRAS. More than a quarter of all human cancers are missing these RNAs.
Biologists Induce Flatworms to Grow Heads and Brains of Other Species
Findings shed light on role of a new kind of epigenetic signaling in evolution, could yield clues for understanding birth defects and regeneration.
Turning up the Tap on Microbes Leads to Better Protein Patenting
Mining millions of proteins could become faster and easier with a new technique that may also transform the enzyme-catalyst industry, according to University of California, Davis, researchers.
Mathematical Model Forecasts the Path of Breast Cancer
Chances of survival depend on which organs breast cancer tumors colonize first.
Exploring the Causes of Cancer
Queen's research to understand the regulation of a cell surface protein involved in cancer.
Ancient Viral Molecules Essential for Human Development
Genetic material from ancient viral infections is critical to human development, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Tardigrade's Are DNA Master Thieves
Tardigrades, nearly microscopic animals that can survive the harshest of environments, including outer space, hold the record for the animal that has the most foreign DNA.
The Secret Behind the Power of Bacterial Sex
Migration between different communities of bacteria is the key to the type of gene transfer that can lead to the spread of traits such as antibiotic resistance, according to researchers at Oxford University.
Farming’s in Their DNA
Ancient genomes reveal natural selection in action.
GMO Food Animals Should be Judged by Product, Not Process
In a world with a burgeoning demand for meat, milk and eggs, regulatory policies around the use of biotechnologies in agriculture need to be based on the safety and attributes of those foods rather than on the methods used to produce them, says a UC Davis animal scientist.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos