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Gene Profiling Improves Burkitt's Lymphoma Diagnosis

Identifying genetic signature for Burkitt's can help guide treatment

WEDNESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Genomic technology can distinguish Burkitt's lymphoma from other B-cell lymphomas, guiding crucial therapy choices, according to research in the June 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Harald Stein, M.D., of Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin in Germany, and colleagues profiled gene-expression in 220 aggressive B-cell lymphomas, including eight Burkitt's lymphomas, generating a "molecular signature" for Burkitt's.

"Our molecular definition of Burkitt's lymphoma clarifies and extends the spectrum of the World Health Organization criteria for Burkitt's lymphoma," the authors write.

In another study, Sandeep S. Dave, M.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues distinguished Burkitt's lymphoma from diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma by profiling gene expression in tumor biopsies of 303 aggressive lymphoma patients.

"Gene-expression profiling is an accurate, quantitative method for distinguishing Burkitt's lymphoma from diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma," the authors write.

In an editorial, Nancy Lee Harris, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, writes that the two studies show "the usefulness of gene-array analysis for defining biologic entities with important implications for clinical research and practice."

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