Lymphoma is the third most common childhood malignancy. Less information is available on this disease and its outcome from our country. We present here a single institute experience. A retrospective study was carried out at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi on children (<15 y) diagnosed with lymphoma from 1998 to 2007. Sixty-eight patients were identified. Fifty-one children were diagnosed as non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Mean age of presentation was 8.4 years with male-to-female ratio of 5.8: 1. Most common histopathologic subtype of NHL was Burkitt lymphoma (55%). Abdominal mass was the main presenting feature of Burkitt and diffuse large B cell lymphoma. T-lymphoblastic lymphoma presented mainly as mediastinal mass. Ten children died, 4 secondary to tumor lysis syndrome, 5 because of disease progression, and 1 with chemotherapy-induced toxicity. One-third of the patients left without treatment. Seventeen children were diagnosed as Hodgkin lymphoma with mixed cellularity as the commonest subtype (65%). Overall survival of children with NHL and Hodgkin lymphoma was 62% and 94%, respectively. A greater proportion of NHL, advanced stage, and profound male preponderance were observed. Improvement in survival can only be achieved with increasing awareness, identifying and tackling causes of abandonment, early referral, and better supportive care.
- Developing country