Microgeographic variations in Burkitt's lymphoma incidence correlate with differences in malnutrition, malaria and Epstein-Barr virus

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Department of Pediatrics

Publication Date


Document Type



Burkitt Lymphoma; Child; Child, Preschool; Female; Glutathione Peroxidase; Herpesvirus 4, Human; Humans; Incidence; Infant; Kenya; Logistic Models; Malaria; Male; Malnutrition; Viral Load


Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research | Immunology and Infectious Disease


BACKGROUND: Endemic Burkitt's lymphoma (eBL) has been associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and holoendemic Plasmodium falciparum malaria. But recent evidence suggests that other risk factors are involved.

METHODS: We hypothesised that selenoprotein glutathione peroxidase (GPx), a surrogate of nutritional status, is an important biomarker for eBL risk. We measured plasma GPx, anthropometric markers of malnutrition, EBV viral loads and malaria parasitaemia in children aged 1-9 years (n=258) from two locations in Nyanza Province, Kenya, with higher-than-expected and lower-than-expected incidence of eBL. The study participants were malaria asymptomatic children from the community.

RESULTS: Children from eBL high-incidence areas had significantly lower GPx levels, high EBV viral load and more evidence of chronic malnutrition than children from eBL low-incidence areas (all P<0.001). Additionally, GPx levels were significantly lower in children with the highest EBV viral load and for those with P. falciparum infections (P=0.035 and P=0.004, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that selenium deficiency may be a risk factor for eBL.

DOI of Published Version



Br J Cancer. 2010 Nov 23;103(11):1736-41. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

British journal of cancer

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed