Abdominal Non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) are the most common extra nodal presentation of pediatric NHL. Our aim is to assess the role of surgery as a risk factor and to evaluate the impact of risk-adjusted systemic chemotherapy on survival of patients with stages II and III disease. This study included 35 pediatric patients with abdominal NHL treated over five years at South Egypt Cancer Institute (SECI), Assiut University, between January 2005 and January 2010. The data of every patient included: Age, sex, and presentation, staging work up to determine extent of the disease and the type of resection performed, histopathological examination, details of chemotherapy, disease free survival and overall survival.
The study included 25 boys and 10 girls with a median age of six years (range: 2.5:15). Thirty patients (86%) presented with abdominal pain, 23 patients (66%) presented with abdominal mass and distention, 13 patients (34%) presented with weight loss, and intestinal obstruction occurred in six patients (17%). The ileo-cecal region and abdominal lymph nodes were the commonest sites (48.5%, 21% respectively). Burkitt's lymphoma was the most common histological type in 29 patients (83%). Ten (28.5%) stage II (group A) and 25 (71.5%) stage III (group B). Complete resections were performed in 10 (28.5%), debulking in 6 (17%) and imaging guided biopsy in 19 (54%). A11 patients received systemic chemotherapy. The median follow up duration was 63 months (range 51-78 months). The parameters that significantly affect the overall survival were stage at presentation complete resection for localized disease. In conclusion, the extent of disease at presentation is the most important prognostic factor in pediatric abdominal NHL. Surgery is restricted to defined situations such as; abdominal emergencies, diagnostic biopsy and total tumor extirpation in localized disease. Chemotherapy is the cornerstone in the management of pediatric abdominal NHL.