INCTR 03-06: The Treatment and Characterization of Burkitt Lymphoma in Africa

Six institutions - the Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, the University College Hospital in Ibadan, Nigeria, St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Gulu, Uganda and the Hôpital Général in Yaoundé, Cameroon – are participating in a study of the treatment and characterization of Burkitt Lymphoma (BL) in Africa. To date, 425 patients have been entered on the study.

The protocol consists of a First-Line (FL) regimen for newly diagnosed, previously untreated patients and a Second-Line (SL) regimen for patients who fail to respond to FL or who relapse after FL. The treatment is effective and can be safely delivered in countries in Africa. Overall survival for all patients entered on the protocol, including those who received SL therapy, is 61% at 2 years. In addition, the SL regimen has been shown to be effective and could improve survival for high risk patients if combined with FL therapy.

Through generous donations, INCTR has been able to provide patients with the drugs necessary for treatment, although the cost of the drugs is well within the range of affordability in sub-Saharan Africa, such that this treatment approach should be feasible even without external financial support.

Significant improvements have been made in managing patients with BL. The “team” approach to patient care is now well-established, supportive care has improved, accurate and complete data for all study patients is being collected, data monitoring is performed, and patient follow-up has improved. With this protocol, it is possible to cure a significant fraction of patients, even those who relapse or partially respond to initial treatment – important to families, of course, but also a demonstration to policy makers that cancer can be curable.

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Children Treated at Ocean Road Cancer Institute

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