Cytologic diagnosis of Burkitt lymphoma: Role of ancillary studies

Megan L. Troxell, Charles D. Bangs, Athena M. Cherry, Yasodha Natkunam, Christina S. Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. The diagnosis and classification of lymphoma require correlation of morphologic, immunophenotypic, and molecular-cytogenetic studies. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) is a valuable diagnostic technique that allows material to be collected for these ancillary studies, and for morphologic evaluation. METHODS. The authors report a series of seven cases clinically or morphologically suspicious for Burkitt lymphoma. Fluorescence in situ hybridization studies (FISH) for c-myc were performed on FNAB material and correlated with cytologic and immunophenotypic data. RESULTS. Six of seven specimens were positive for c-myc rearrangement by FISH. However, only three of these cases represented Burkitt lymphoma, with one additional case of atypical Burkitt lymphoma. The other cases included diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, monomorphic posttransplant B-cell lymphoma, and an aggressive B-cell lymphoma, with the latter case negative for c-myc rearrangement by FISH. Of 2 non-Burkitt lymphoma specimens tested, 1 was positive for the immunoglobulin H/bcl-2 rearrangement, in addition to the c-myc rearrangement, suggesting transformation from a lower grade lymphoma. CONCLUSIONS. These cases illustrated the value of FNAB in the diagnosis of Burkitt lymphoma, as well as the importance of obtaining material for, and integrating results of, ancillary studies for the final diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-318
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 25 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Burkitt lymphoma
  • Fine-needle aspiration biopsy
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • c-myc
  • t (14;18)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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