Treatment for Burkitt lymphoma typically involves intensive chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and in some cases, stem cell transplantation. The specific treatment plan will depend on the patient's overall health, the stage of the disease, and other factors. Here are some of the common treatments for Burkitt lymphoma:
Chemotherapy is the main treatment for Burkitt lymphoma. It uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. The drugs can be given orally or injected into a vein or muscle. The specific drugs used in chemotherapy for Burkitt lymphoma include cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone, and rituximab (known as the CODOX-M/IVAC regimen). High-dose methotrexate and cytarabine are also used. These drugs are usually given in high doses due to the aggressive nature of the disease.
Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses the patient's immune system to fight cancer. Monoclonal antibodies, a type of immunotherapy, are used in treating Burkitt lymphoma. Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody that targets the CD20 antigen on the surface of B-lymphocytes, including Burkitt lymphoma cells. It is often used in combination with chemotherapy.
3. Stem Cell Transplant
In some cases, a stem cell transplant may be recommended, especially if the lymphoma relapses or doesn't respond to initial treatment. This procedure involves high-dose chemotherapy followed by an infusion of stem cells to replace the bone marrow that has been destroyed. The stem cells can be the patient's own (autologous transplant) or from a donor (allogeneic transplant).
4. Supportive Care
Supportive care is used to prevent or manage the side effects of Burkitt lymphoma treatment. This can include medications to manage pain and nausea, blood transfusions to manage anemia, and antibiotics to prevent or treat infections. Nutritional support and psychological counseling may also be part of supportive care.
5. Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are not just a last resort for treating Burkitt lymphoma. They can actually provide access to cutting-edge treatments that are not yet approved but show promise over years of testing. The choice of a clinical trial depends on a variety of factors including the patient's age, overall health, the subtype of Burkitt lymphoma, and genetic changes in the lymphoma cells. It's important to discuss all treatment options, including goals and possible side effects, with your healthcare team to help make the best decision.
To learn more about your Burkitt lymphoma clinical trial options, visit HealthTree's Burkitt lymphoma Clinical Trial Finder. Utilize the advanced filter option to locate trials that you are eligible to participate in. You can create a HealthTree account to favorite your top trial options so you can discuss them with your Burkitt lymphoma specialist.