Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Burkitt Lymphoma

Endemic BL is a malignant form of lymphatic cancer that develops in the jaws and face bones of children, found predominately in central and subequatorial Africa in the same regions as endemic malaria. In Africa, the tumors are associated with infection by the mosquito-borne Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a form of herpesvirus, which causes chromosome translocations that involve the c-myc protooncogene normally located on chromosome

8. No EBV has been detected in European or American BL patients. The most common translocation is t(8; 14). The Myc gene normally functions to control cell growth and proliferation, but at its new position next to a highly expressed antibody gene on chromosome 14, this function of Myc is altered and it is over-expressed, becoming an oncogene. Other EBVprecipitated cancers include nasopharyngeal carcinoma and Hodgkin disease.

Cf. the Philadelphia chromosome.

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