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A trial looking at chemotherapy for Burkitt's or Burkitt's like non Hodgkin lymphoma (LY10)

This trial was trying to find out more about Burkitt’s lymphoma and to see if it was safe to treat this type of lymphoma with a reduced dose of chemotherapy. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.

Burkitt’s lymphoma is a rare form of non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). It is a type of high grade B cell lymphoma that occurs mostly in young adults.

Doctors use a combination of chemotherapy drugs to treat Burkitt’s lymphoma. This works very well, but it is quite intensive treatment and does have side effects. In this trial, they wanted to see if a slightly lower dose of drugs works just as well, but has fewer side effects.

An extra part of this study involved sending a tissue sample (biopsy) to a specialist laboratory. Researchers were trying to learn more about Burkitt’s lymphoma and ways of telling it apart from other types of lymphoma.

The aims of the trial were to learn more about Burkitt’s lymphoma. And to see if a reduced dose of chemotherapy

  • Worked as well as the standard treatment
  • Had fewer side effects

Recruitment

Start 01/04/2002
End 01/04/2006

Phase

Phase 2

Summary of results

The researchers compared their results with earlier trials, and found that a lower dose of chemotherapy worked about as well, and had fewer side effects.

The trial recruited 128 people and 110 went on to have chemotherapy. Depending on the stage of their disease and how fit they were, the researchers classed them as being either high risk or low risk for their lymphoma coming back.

People classed as low risk had a combination of drugs called CODOX-M. People in the high risk group had a combination containing some extra drugs called CODOX-M/IVAC. Everybody had a reduced dose of one of the drugs called methotrexate. The trial team reported that this reduced the number of side effects, such as fewer people getting a sore mouth.

The new, specialist tests that were carried out on the tumour samples involved looking closely at the genetic material (the DNA). This type of testing is called cytogenetics.

The researchers found that compared to older types of testing, cytogenetics, was a better way of seeing the difference between Burkitt’s lymphoma and another type of high grade lymphoma called diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

Together with this information, they looked at the number of people who had no signs of their cancer coming back 2 years after treatment. This was

  • 26 out of 42 people (62%) who had high risk Burkitt’s lymphoma
  • 8 out of 11 people (73%) who had low risk Burkitt’s lymphoma
  • 12 out of 35 people (34%) who had high risk DLBCL
  • 19 out of 22 people (86%) who had low risk DLBCL

The trial team suggest that this lower dose of chemotherapy can be used safely for people who have Burkitt’s lymphoma. But people who have other types of high grade B cell lymphoma should have different treatment.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Chief Investigator

Dr G Mead

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/01/006.

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Medical Research Council (MRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
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Updated: 31 August 2010