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Neurosurg Focus. 2006 Nov 15;21(5):E1.

Molecular pathogenesis of primary central nervous system lymphoma.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.


Primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) is an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) typically associated with a worse prognosis than other localized extranodal lymphomas with similar histological characteristics. The defining feature of PCNSL is its confinement to the central nervous system (CNS), with proclivity for growth within the leptomeningeal as well as intraocular compartments. Primary CNS lymphoma rarely disseminates outside the CNS and accounts for less than 5% of all primary brain neoplasms. At least 95% of PCNSLs are of large B-cell histology, the most common subtype of NHL. Consistent with the trend seen in systemic NHLs, the incidence of PCNSL has markedly increased over the past three decades, both in immunocompromised and immunocompetent patients. Because PCNSL is relatively rare, the identification of molecular prognostic biomarkers and the definition of a standard therapeutic strategy have been challenging. The authors discuss the current knowledge of the molecular pathogenesis of CNS lymphomas and review the recent advances in gene expression profile analysis and identification of novel prognostic biomarkers.

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