Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal


The occurrence of leukemia in Burkitt's lymphoma, with or without visceral or nodal tumefaction is uncommon, and its initial presentation as leukemia is even more unusual. Because it has a poor chemotherapeutic response and a grave prognosis, it is important to recognize this unusual leukemia correctly. Our report describes the clinical and pathologic findings of Burkitt's lymphoma cell leukemia in a five-year-old white boy who presented with abdominal distension, hepatosplenomegaly, and lymphadenopathy. Blood examination revealed normocytic normochromic anemia, erythroblastosis, slight leukocytosis, and the presence of numerous (24%) blasts. A diagnosis of Burkitt's lymphoma was established on the basis of morphologic, cytochemical, and immunologic studies performed on the blasts. When the chemotherapy protocol for the lymphoma was administered, the patient responded well initially but suffered uric acid nephropathy, which was successfully treated. However, within two weeks he had a rapid relapse of leukemia and died four months after admission.