Review Article

New approaches in primary central nervous system lymphoma

Eleanor Fraser, Katherine Gruenberg, James L. Rubenstein


Primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) has long been associated with an inferior prognosis compared to other aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (NHLs). However, during the past 10 years an accumulation of clinical experience has demonstrated that long-term progression-free survival (PFS) can be attained in a major proportion of PCNSL patients who receive dose-intensive consolidation chemotherapy and avoid whole brain radiotherapy. One recent approach that has reproducibly demonstrated efficacy for newly diagnosed PCNSL patients is an immunochemotherapy combination regimen used during induction that consists of methotrexate, temozolomide, and rituximab followed by consolidative infusional etoposide plus high-dose cytarabine (EA), administered in first complete remission (CR). Other high-dose chemotherapy-based consolidative regimens have shown efficacy as well. Our goal in this review is to update principles of diagnosis and management as well as data regarding the molecular pathogenesis of PCNSL, information that may constitute a basis for development of more effective therapies required to make additional advances in this phenotype of aggressive NHL.

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