A review of the literature on childhood Burkitt lymphoma in Nigeria

  • BJ Brown
Keywords: Burkitt Lymphoma, Nigeria, childhood, tumours, cancer


Background: Burkitt Lymphoma is common childhood tumour in sub Saharan Africa but the lack of centralized database on childhood cancer in Nigeria has made it difficult having a nationwide picture of its occurrence in the country.

Objectives: This study was aimed at pooling published data from across the country with the hope of providing an overview of the profile of the disease in Nigeria.

Methods: literature search was carried out on Pub Med/MEDLINE and Cochrane databases for all articles published between January 1975 and July 2015 using search strings such as children, cancer, Burkitt’s, epidemiology, prevalence, treatment and Nigeria. Based on specific criteria, 39 studies were included.

Results: Burkitt Lymphoma was the most common childhood malignancy in most parts of the country accounting for 18.3- 65.0% of malignant tumours but a few centers observed Retinoblas-toma as the most common. There was a decline in the frequency of Burkitt lymphoma in Ibadan from 1960-2010 and in Lagos. Peak ages of occurrence ranged from 5- 10 years, more males and children from low socio-economic classes were affected. Different centers reported predominant involvement of either the jaw or the abdomen but there were slightly more centers with predominance of the jaw. Retrospective studies yielded an estimated survival of 15-23% while the Event Free Survival probabilities at two years was 43% and 48% for the Nigerian centers that participated in an international study.

Conclusion: Burkitt Lymphoma is a common tumour in Nigeria. Establishment of Cancer registries for better data capture and funding for better treatment outcomes is recommended.

Keywords: Burkitt Lymphoma; Nigeria; childhood; tumours; cancer


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0302-4660