Objective: To determine the effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on survival in AIDS-related primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL).
Methods: Survival in consecutive patients with PCNSL at a large county teaching hospital from 1995 to 2001 were analyzed by the log rank test and Cox proportional hazards ratios (HR) were calculated for factors potentially affecting survival.
Results: During the study period, 25 patients were diagnosed with PCNSL: 19 definite and 6 probable. At diagnosis, median CD4 cell count was 12 x 10(6) cells/l (range 1-151) and median HIV viral load was 5.3 log(10) copies/ml (range 3.9-5.9). Sixteen patients died (median survival 87 days; range, 0 to > 2112). Longer survival was noted for patients who received HAART after diagnosis [HR for death, 0.06; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.01-0.48]. Six of seven HAART-treated patients were alive versus 0/18 untreated patients at a median follow-up time of 667 days (P = 0.0007 by log rank test). A survival benefit was seen for patients who had >/= 0.5 log(10) copies/ml decrease in HIV viral load after diagnosis (n = 6; HR, 0.07; 95% CI, 0.01-0.55) and for patients with a significant CD4 cell rebound (increase >/= 50 x 106 cells/l) in response to HAART (n = 6): all survived versus 0/19 survived (P = 0.0003). Cranial radiation therapy (n = 13) prolonged survival (HR, 0.20; 95% CI, 0.07-0.58). Median survival was only 29 days for 11 patients who received neither radiation nor HAART.
Conclusions: Receipt of HAART after diagnosis is associated with a significantly longer survival in patients with AIDS-related CNS lymphoma.