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Neurol India. 2009 Nov-Dec;57(6):756-63. doi: 10.4103/0028-3886.59472.

Primary central nervous system lymphoma: a profile of 26 cases from Western India.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.



Primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma (PCNSL) is a rare malignant non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and it accounts for 1% of all intracranial tumors. Only a few PCNSL studies have been reported from India, and studies on prognostic factors determining outcome, or evaluation of the response to currently accepted treatment, are lacking.


This study attempts to further delineate the clinical, radiological and pathological profile of PCNSL in India, to evaluate response to treatment and to assess usefulness of the International Extranodal Lymphoma Study Group (IELSG) score.


All patients with pathologically proven PCNSL admitted over three years at a large tertiary care institution were studied.


Clinical features, IELSG prognostic score, imaging and pathological features, and response to treatment were evaluated. Results were analyzed using chi 2 test.


Of 26 patients found, all except two were immunocompetent. Median age at diagnosis was 59 years. Focal deficits (76.9%) and neuropsychiatric symptoms (57.6%) were the commonest presenting complaints. Except for one case, at least some contrast enhancement was seen in brain lesions of all patients. Pathological studies showed high grade diffuse large B-cell (DLBCL) histology in 96.2% of patients. Of 22 patients who received methotrexate (MTX) based chemotherapy with/without radiotherapy; six died, with a response rate of 72.7%. Median survival was 10 months. Median follow-up duration was 14.5 months. Four patients developed treatment-related cognitive decline. All six patients with IELSG score of 4/5 died, while all 16 patients with a score of 0-3 survived.


PCNSL presents most commonly in the sixth decade with focal neurological deficit, behavioral symptoms and cognitive decline. High grade DLBCL is the commonest histological subtype. Steroids should ideally be withheld until biopsy as they may confound the diagnosis. Most immunocompetent patients respond well to high dose MTX-based chemotherapy with/without radiation. High IELSG scores correlate with worse prognosis in patients with PCNSL.

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