gms | German Medical Science

27th German Cancer Congress Berlin 2006

German Cancer Society (Frankfurt/M.)

22. - 26.03.2006, Berlin

Diagnosis of Burkitt’s lymphoma in due time: a practical approach

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Thomas F.E. Barth - Institut für Pathologie, Universitätsklinikum, Ulm, Deutschland, Deutschland
  • Urban Novak - Institute for Cancer Genetics, Columbia University, NY, USA
  • Samuel Henz - Departement für Innere Medizin, Kantonsspital, St.Gallen
  • Ulrico Schmid - Institut für Pathologie, Kantonsspital St.Gallen
  • Peter Möller - Institut für Pathologie, Universitätsklinikum, Ulm, Deutschland
  • Sergio B. Cogliatti - Institut für Pathologie, Kantonsspital St.Gallen

27. Deutscher Krebskongress. Berlin, 22.-26.03.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocOP104

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: March 20, 2006

© 2006 Barth et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



The quick diagnosis of Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) and its clear-cut delimitation from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is of great clinical importance as treatment strategies for these two diseases differ markedly. As these two lymphomas are difficult to distinguish using the current WHO classification, we studied thirty-nine cases of highly proliferative blastic B-cell lymphoma (HPBCL) to establish a practical differential-diagnostic algorithm. Characteristics set for BL were a typical morphology, a mature B-cell phenotype of CD10+, Bcl-6 + and Bcl-2 - tumour cells, a proliferation rate of >95%, and the presence of C-MYC rearrangements in the absence of t(14;18). Congruency of all these features was found in only 5/39 cases, whereas the majority of tumours revealed mosaic compositions. We then followed a pragmatic stepwise approach for a classification algorithm that includes the assessment of C-MYC status to stratify HPBCL into four diagnostic categories (DC), namely DC1 (5/39, 12.8%): “classical BL”, DC2 (11/39, 28.2%): “atypical BL”, DC3 (9/39, 23.1%): “C-MYC+ DLBCL ”, and DC4 (14/39, 35.9%): “C-MYC- HPBCL”. This proposal may serve as a robust and objective operational basis for therapeutic decisions for HPBCL within one week. However, the prognostic relevance of our classifier needs to be evaluated in a prospective clinical trial.