Intraocular lymphoma: update on diagnosis and management

Cancer Control. 2004 Sep-Oct;11(5):285-95. doi: 10.1177/107327480401100502.


Background: Primary intraocular lymphoma (PIOL) is a subset of primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) in which lymphoma cells initially invade the retina, vitreous, or optic nerve head, with or without concomitant CNS involvement. The incidence of this previously rare condition has increased dramatically. Given its nonspecific presentation and aggressive course, PIOL provides a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge.

Methods: We review the current strategies for diagnosis and treatment of PIOL and present our own experience with PIOL.

Results: Recent developments in the diagnosis of PIOL include immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, cytokine evaluation, and molecular analysis. However, definitive diagnosis still requires harvesting of tissue for histopathology. Optimal treatment for PIOL remains unclear. Initial therapeutic regimens should include methotrexate-based chemotherapy and radiotherapy to the brain and eye. In addition, promising results have been seen with intravitreal methotrexate and autologous stem cell transplantation for recurrent and refractory disease.

Conclusions: Efforts to further determine the immunophenotype and molecular characteristics of PIOL will continue to assist in the diagnosis of PIOL. Future studies are required to determine the role of radiotherapy and optimal local and systemic chemotherapeutic regimens.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Neurological
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological
  • Eye Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Eye Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intralymphatic
  • Lymphoma / diagnosis*
  • Lymphoma / therapy*
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Radiotherapy / methods
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitrectomy / methods


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Methotrexate