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J Clin Oncol. 2006 Mar 10;24(8):1281-8.

Primary CNS lymphoma.

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  • 1Stephen E. and Catherine Pappas Center for Neuro-Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Primary CNS lymphoma (PCNSL), an uncommon form of extranodal non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), has increased in incidence during the last three decades and occurs in both immunocompromised and immunocompetent hosts. PCNSL in immunocompetent patients is associated with unique diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic issues, and the management of this malignancy is different from that of other forms of extranodal NHL. Characteristic imaging features should be suggestive of the diagnosis, avoidance of corticosteroids, if possible, and early neurosurgical consultation for stereotactic biopsy. Because PCNSL may involve the brain, CSF, and eyes, diagnostic evaluation should include assessment of all of these regions as well as screening for possible occult systemic disease. Resection provides no therapeutic benefit and should be reserved for the rare patient with neurologic deterioration due to brain herniation. Whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) alone is insufficient for durable tumor control and is associated with a high risk of neurotoxicity in patients older than age 60. Neurotoxicity typically is associated with significant cognitive, motor, and autonomic dysfunction, and has a negative impact on quality of life. Chemotherapy and WBRT together improve tumor response rates and survival compared with WBRT alone. Methotrexate-based multiagent chemotherapy without WBRT is associated with similar tumor response rates and survival compared with regimens that include WBRT, although controlled trials have not been performed. The risk of neurotoxicity is lower in patients treated with chemotherapy alone.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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