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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 516047, 14 pages
Review Article

Burkitt Lymphoma: Pathogenesis and Immune Evasion

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Charles Darby Children's Research Institute, Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina, 173 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425, USA

Received 21 June 2010; Accepted 2 September 2010

Academic Editor: Rob S. Pieters

Copyright © 2010 Jason M. God and Azizul Haque. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


B-cell lymphomas arise at distinct stages of cellular development and maturation, potentially influencing antigen (Ag) presentation and T-cell recognition. Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is a highly malignant B-cell tumor associated with Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) infection. Although BL can be effectively treated in adults and children, leading to high survival rates, its ability to mask itself from the immune system makes BL an intriguing disease to study. In this paper, we will provide an overview of BL and its association with EBV and the c-myc oncogene. The contributions of EBV and c-myc to B-cell transformation, proliferation, or attenuation of cellular network and immune recognition or evasion will be summarized. We will also discuss the various pathways by which BL escapes immune detection by inhibiting both HLA class I- and II-mediated Ag presentation to T cells. Finally, we will provide an overview of recent developments suggesting the existence of BL-associated inhibitory molecules that may block HLA class II-mediated Ag presentation to CD4+ T cells, facilitating immune escape of BL.