High-dose therapy with hematopoietic cell transplantation for patients with central nervous system involvement by non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2000;6(3A):352-8. doi: 10.1016/s1083-8791(00)70060-7.


Central nervous system (CNS) involvement by non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) carries a poor patient prognosis whether it occurs as a primary site of disease or secondarily in patients with systemic disease. In a group of 481 patients undergoing high-dose therapy with hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for NHL, 15 patients (3.1%) were identified with CNS involvement. Two patients had primary CNS lymphoma, and 13 had secondary disease. All patients received intrathecal chemotherapy, and 13 received CNS radiotherapy before transplantation. Fourteen patients received systemic chemotherapy. At the time of transplantation, both patients with primary CNS lymphoma and 8 patients with secondary disease had achieved a complete response, 3 patients had achieved a partial response, 1 had failed induction therapy, and 1 had progression of CNS disease before high-dose therapy. Fourteen patients received carmustine, etoposide, and cyclophosphamide as the preparative regimen, and 1 patient received fractionated total body irradiation instead of carmustine. The 2 patients with primary CNS lymphoma were alive and free of disease, 1 at 1,085 days after HCT and 1 at 3,704 days after HCT. The actuarial 5-year event-free survival (EFS) was 46% +/- 26%, and overall survival (OS) was 41% +/- 28%. The median EFS and OS were 2.2 and 1.5 years, respectively. Three patients experienced symptomatic memory loss or intellectual decline after therapy, 1 patient developed paraplegia, and 1 patient had a thrombotic stroke 20 months after HCT. Despite treatment-related toxicities, 7 patients responding to quality-of-life questions at approximately 1 year after HCT gave their overall quality of life a median rating of 9 out of a possible 10 (range, 6-10). High-dose therapy with autologous HCT can produce extended EFS in patients with secondary CNS lymphoma and possibly in those with primary CNS NHL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actuarial Analysis
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Marrow Purging
  • Carmustine / administration & dosage
  • Carmustine / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System / pathology*
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / mortality
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cranial Irradiation
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Cyclophosphamide / adverse effects
  • Disease Progression
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Etoposide / administration & dosage
  • Etoposide / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / mortality
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / pathology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / radiotherapy
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelitis, Transverse / etiology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Quality of Life
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survival Rate
  • Transplantation Conditioning / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Whole-Body Irradiation


  • Etoposide
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Carmustine