Curative radiotherapy for primary orbital lymphoma

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2002 Nov 1;54(3):818-23. doi: 10.1016/s0360-3016(02)02966-8.


Purpose: To review our institutional experience with primary orbital lymphoma and determine the prognostic factors for survival, local control, and distant metastases. In addition, we also analyzed the risk factors for complications in the radiotherapeutic management of this tumor.

Methods and materials: Between 1973 and 1998, 47 patients (29 women [62%] and 18 men [38%], median age 69 years, range 32-89) with Stage IAE orbital lymphoma were treated with curative intent at one department. Five had bilateral orbital involvement. The tumor was located in the eyelid and extraocular muscles in 23 (44%), conjunctiva in 17 (33%), and lacrimal apparatus in 12 (23%). The histologic features according to the World Heath Organization classification of lymphoid neoplasms was follicular lymphoma in 25, extranodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue type in 8, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in 12, mantle cell lymphoma in 6, and peripheral T-cell lymphoma in 1. For the purposes of comparison with the existing literature on orbital lymphomas, the grading system according to the Working Formulation was also recorded. The histologic grade was low in 33 (63%), intermediate in 18 (35%), and high in 1 (2%). All patients were treated with primary radiotherapy alone. The median dose for low-grade tumors was 3000 cGy (range 2000-4020); the median dose for intermediate and high-grade tumors was 4000 cGy (range 3000-5100). A lens-sparing approach was used in 19 patients (37%). Late complications for the lens and cornea were scored according to the subjective, objective, management, and analytic (SOMA) scale of the Late Effects of Normal Tissue (LENT) scoring system. The median follow-up was 55 months (range 6-232).

Results: The local control rate was 100% in the 52 orbits treated. The 5-year overall survival and relapse-free survival rate was 73.6% and 65.5%, respectively. Tumor grade and location did not predict for overall survival or relapse-free survival. Seven patients (15%) developed distant recurrence (brain 2, extremity 2, mediastinum 1, liver 1, and retroperitoneum 1). One patient (2%) developed cervical node metastasis. The 5- and 10-year cataract-free survival rate was 56.7% and 32.9%, respectively. Of the 12 lens complications, 8 were LENT Grade 1 and 4 were Grade 3 toxicity. Only male gender predicted for an increased risk of cataract formation. Radiotherapy dose and technique did not predict for cataract formation; however, none of the patients who underwent the lens-sparing technique developed Grade 3 lens toxicity or required surgical correction. Of the nine corneal events, two were Grade 1, four Grade 2, and three were Grade 3 toxicity. Ten dry eyes were recorded; all were mild, and no patient had severe dry eye syndrome. Neovascular glaucoma was seen in 1 patient. No injury to the retina or optic nerve was reported.

Conclusion: Radiotherapy alone is a highly effective modality in the curative management of primary orbital lymphoma. Most complications were minimal and did not require medical or surgical intervention. Although the use of the lens-sparing technique did not influence the incidence of cataractogenesis, we continue to recommend this approach whenever possible, because our experience indicates a higher grade of toxicity occurs and a higher incidence of corrective surgery is needed in patients treated without lens protection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / mortality
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / radiotherapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orbital Neoplasms / mortality
  • Orbital Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate