Burkitt lymphoma is a form of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHLs) which are a group of blood cancers derived from lymphocytes. Burkitt lymphoma is a rare disease and occurs only in one in every 30-50 people with non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Burkitt lymphomas are of three types, namely, endemic, sporadic and immunodeficiency associated. Endemic NHL is also known as African type and affects African children aged between 4 to 7 years; this type of Burkitt lymphoma is closely associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the main cause of glandular fever. Sporadic type occurs worldwide especially in western region. According to WebMD, in the United States and Western Europe, it accounts for up to 40% of all pediatric lymphoma cases. Immunodeficiency associated type of Burkitt lymphoma is more common in people with HIV/AIDS. Burkitt lymphoma is characterized by swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, groin or under the arm which is often painless. This condition is more common in men than women.
It is one of the fastest growing lymphomas and becomes fatal if left untreated. Intensive chemotherapy has been proven to be successful in long term survival of more than half the people with this condition. Prednisone, cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, vincristine, cytarabine, doxorubicin, methotrexate, and etoposide are the most commonly used medicines during chemotherapy. Geographically, North America leads the market for Burkitt lymphoma therapeutics owing to factors such as well-established reimbursement scenario in the region and significant number of Burkitt lymphoma cases diagnosed each year. According to WebMD, in the United States, around 1,200 new cases are diagnosed each year. Africa represents a potential market for Burkitt lymphoma therapeutics, however, poor economy of the region may hamper the market growth to some extent.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, Novartis AG, Seattle Genetics, Inc., Sanofi, Mayo Clinic, MethylGene Inc., Eisai Inc. and Cellerant Therapeutics, Inc. are some major players and research laboratories among others engaged in the development, manufacturing and marketing of therapeutic agents used to treat Burkitt lymphoma.