Diagnosis mystery cells case #17: Burkitt’s Lymphoma
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The patient was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system that has an especially high incidence in equatorial Africa among children 3 to 16 years of age. The disease is characterized by tumors of the jaw bones and abdomen and is named after Denis Burkitt, who mapped its peculiar geographic distribution across Africa in the 1950s.
There are three main clinical variants of Burkitt’s Lymphoma and they cannot really be distinguished from one another based on microscopic morphology. All types of Burkitt’s lymphoma are characterized by a disregulation of the c-myc gene by one of three chromosomal translocations on the gene found at 8q24 with the most common variant being a translocation being t(8;14)(q24;q32). Localized tumors respond well to chemotherapy and can have a very good prognosis. Involvement of the central nervous system, however, can lead to a far more serious prognosis.
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