Long-term outcomes in patients with Burkitt lymphoma older than 65 years: an analysis of the Texas Cancer Registry

Ethan A. Burns, Justin J. Wilson, Sunil Mathur, Ryan Kieser, Zimu Gong, Chih Chi Andrew Hu, Chih Hang Anthony Tang, Jenny Petkova, Carrie Yuen, Hanh Mai, Shilpan Shah, Lawrence Rice, Siddhartha Ganguly, Sai Ravi Pingali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is an extremely aggressive but curable subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. While younger patients have excellent outcomes in response to aggressive chemoimmunotherapy, the rarity of this disease in older patients and limitations caused by age, comorbidities, and performance status may negate survival advantages. This analysis assessed outcomes of older adults with BL through data provided by the Texas Cancer Registry (TCR). Patients ≥65 years with BL were assessed. Patients were dichotomized into 1997-2007 and 2008-2018. Median overall survival (OS) and disease-specific survival (DSS) were assessed using Kaplan-Meier methodology, and covariates including age, race, sex, stage, primary site, and poverty index were analyzed using Pearson Chi-squared analysis. Odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) was used to assess factors contributing to patients not offered systemic therapy. P value <0.05 was considered statistically significant. Non-BL mortality events were also categorized. There were 325 adults, 167 in 1997-2007 and 158 in 2008-2018; 106 (63.5%) and 121 (76.6%) received systemic therapy, a trend that increased with time (p = 0.010). Median OS for 1997-2007 and 2008-2018 was 5 months (95% CI 2.469, 7.531) and 9 months (95% CI 0.000, 19.154) (p = 0.013), and DSS was 72 months (95% CI 56.397, 87.603) (p = 0.604) and not reached, respectively. For patients that received systemic therapy, median OS was 8 months (95% CI 1.278, 14.722) and 26 months (95% CI 5.824, 46.176) (p = 0.072), respectively, and DSS was 79 months (95% CI: 56.416, 101.584) and not reached, respectively (p = 0.607). Age ≥75 years (HR 1.39 [95% CI 1.078, 1.791], p = 0.011) and non-Hispanic whites (HR 1.407 [95% CI 1.024, 1.935], p = 0.035) had poorer outcomes, and patients at the 20-100% poverty index (OR 0.387 [95% CI 0.163, 0.921], p = 0.032) and increasing age at diagnosis (OR 0.947 [95% CI 0.913, 0.983], p = 0.004) were less likely to receive systemic therapy. Of 259 (79.7%) deaths, 62 (23.9%) were non-BL deaths, and 6 (9.6%) of these were from a second cancer. This two-decade analysis of older Texas patients with BL indicates a significant improvement in OS over time. Although patients were more likely to receive systemic therapy over time, treatment disparities existed in patients residing in poverty-stricken regions of Texas and in advancing age. These statewide findings reflect an unmet national need to find a systemic therapeutic strategy that can be tolerated by and augment outcomes in the growing elderly population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2753-2763
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Hematology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Burkitt lymphoma
  • Elderly
  • Health disparities
  • Second primary cancer
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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