Last Updated: 24/06/2023

Childhood Burkitt Lymphoma survival rates in Uganda: A retrospective cohort study of histologically confirmed BL cases diagnosed between 2011 and 2015 in Northern Uganda


The aim of the project is to study whether the extent of tumor involvement at diagnosis, type of treatment administered and a patient’s immune response regulating genes called Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) are associated with five-year survival rates among a group/cohort of Burkitt Lymphoma children who were treated in Uganda.

Specific Objectives are;

  • To determine whether Tumor staging at diagnosis is associated with survival among a retrospective cohort of eBL cases in northern Uganda;
  • To determine whether treatment protocols are associated with survival among a retrospective cohort of eBL cases in northern Uganda; and
  • To determine whether HLA class I & II allele types are associated with survival among a retrospective cohort of eBL cases in northern Uganda.
Principal Institution

Makerere University

Principal Investigators / Focal Persons

Samuel Kirimunda

Rationale and Abstract

Cancer in Africa has been described as being more aggressive and typically affecting younger individuals. Endemic Burkitt Lymphoma (eBL) is one of the most important cancers disproportionately affecting children. It is a B-cell tumor and the most common childhood cancer in many countries in equatorial Africa, including Uganda. Risk for eBL is related to polymicrobial infection with Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) malaria and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and chromosomal translocations that cause the over-expression of oncogene C-MYC. There is a paucity of literature on survival rates and it’s determinants among eBL patients from Sub-Saharan Africa primarily due to poor quality of information on local cancer epidemiology. The researchers hypothesized that tumor stage at diagnosis, treatment protocol choice and HLA allele genotype are associated with five-year survival rates among children diagnosed with eBL in Uganda.
By the end of the first year: the study was successfully approved by the Institutional Review and Ethics Committee at St. Mary’s hospital Lacor and from Uganda National Council of Science and Technology on 5th Jan 2022 and 29th March 2022 respectively. Hospital records review and data abstraction commenced on the 29th of March 2022 and by the end of this period, 225 eBL independent patient hospital records were completed. This data was carefully curated to form a study database that held 225 BL diagnosed cases to determine childhood eBL survivorship. As part of eligibility criteria, only individuals diagnosed from 2011 to 2016 during which enhanced community sensitization and awareness took place will be contacted for survivorship study interviews. At analysis, the researchers will consider participant five-year survival time since diagnosis as the main outcome.
This project will highlight the factors affecting the survival of eBL children in Uganda which is important information for developing meaningful follow-up strategies with an increased focus on survivorship beyond routine disease surveillance. The cohort members assembled in this study will provide a platform to explore long-term eBL survival determinants as well as provide a platform for future research such as vaccine studies.


Jul 2021 — Dec 2023

Total Project Funding


Funding Details
€ 150,000
Project Site



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