Multicenter Study of Risk-Adapted Therapy With Dose-Adjusted EPOCH-R in Adults With Untreated Burkitt Lymphoma

J Clin Oncol. 2020 Aug 1;38(22):2519-2529. doi: 10.1200/JCO.20.00303. Epub 2020 May 26.


Purpose: Burkitt lymphoma is an aggressive B-cell lymphoma curable with dose-intensive chemotherapy derived from pediatric leukemia regimens. Treatment is acutely toxic with late sequelae. We hypothesized that dose-adjusted etoposide, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, prednisone, and rituximab (DA-EPOCH-R) may obviate the need for highly dose-intensive chemotherapy in adults with Burkitt lymphoma.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter risk-adapted study of DA-EPOCH-R in untreated adult Burkitt lymphoma. Low-risk patients received three cycles without CNS prophylaxis, and high-risk patients received six cycles with intrathecal CNS prophylaxis or extended intrathecal treatment if leptomeninges were involved. The primary endpoint was event-free survival (EFS), and secondary endpoints were toxicity and predictors of EFS and overall survival (OS).

Results: Between 2010 and 2017, 113 patients were enrolled across 22 centers, and 98 (87%) were high risk. The median age was 49 (range, 18-86) years, and 62% were ≥ 40 years. Bone marrow and/or CSF was involved in 29 (26%) of patients, and 28 (25%) were HIV positive. At a median follow-up of 58.7 months, EFS and OS were 84.5% and 87.0%, respectively, and EFS was 100% and 82.1% in low- and high-risk patients. Therapy was equally effective across age groups, HIV status, and International Prognostic Index risk groups. Involvement of the CSF identified the group at greatest risk for early toxicity-related death or treatment failure. Five treatment-related deaths (4%) occurred during therapy. Febrile neutropenia occurred in 16% of cycles, and tumor lysis syndrome was rare.

Conclusion: Risk-adapted DA-EPOCH-R therapy is effective in adult Burkitt lymphoma regardless of age or HIV status and was well tolerated. Improved therapeutic strategies for adults with CSF involvement are needed (funded by the National Cancer Institute; identifier: NCT01092182).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / drug therapy*
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / pathology
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Etoposide / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Rituximab / administration & dosage
  • Survival Rate
  • Vincristine / administration & dosage
  • Young Adult


  • Rituximab
  • Vincristine
  • Etoposide
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Prednisone

Associated data