The burden of Burkitt lymphoma in Africa

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Abstract

Background: Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is a relatively common cancer of childhood in tropical Africa, although its precise incidence and continent-wide geographic distribution have not been previously systematically studied. Methods: Using the methods employed to produce national estimates of cancer incidence for the "Globocan" series of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, along with detailed information on cancer incidence by histological subtype from cancer registries in Africa, we estimate the numbers and rates of incidence by sex, age group, country and region of Africa. Results: We estimate that the number of new cases that occurred in 2018 to be about 3900, two thirds in males, and 81% in children aged 0-14. On a national basis, the geographic distribution of incidence rates among children in sub-Saharan Africa resembles that of the prevalence of infection with Falciparum malaria. An estimated 81% of cases are associated with infection with Epstein Barr virus (EBV). Conclusions: BL comprises almost 50% of childhood of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Africa, almost all of which are associated with EBV, with the geographic distribution - at least in sub Saharan Africa - mediated by infection with malaria.

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Hämmerl, L., Colombet, M., Rochford, R., Ogwang, D. M., & Parkin, D. M. (2019). The burden of Burkitt lymphoma in Africa. Infectious Agents and Cancer, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13027-019-0236-7

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