Background: This analysis was initiated to define the predictive value of the area under the curve of high-dose methotrexate (AUC(HD-MTX)) in patients with primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL).
Patients and methods: We included 55 patients with PCNSL and available pharmacokinetic (PK) data from the International Extranodal Lymphoma Study Group (IELSG) no. 20 trial, randomised to HD-MTX (n=30) or HD-MTX and high-dose cytarabine (HD-AraC) (n=25). Individual AUC(HD-MTX) from population PK analysis was tested on drug toxicity and clinical outcome using multivariate logistic regression analysis and Cox hazards modelling.
Results: AUC(HD-MTX), the IELSG score and treatment group were significant predictors for treatment response (complete or partial) in the adjusted model. The AUC(HD-MTX) did not predict toxicity, with the exception of liver toxicity and neutropaenia. A high AUC(HD-MTX) was associated with better event-free survival (EFS) (P=0.01) and overall survival (OAS) (P=0.02). Both the AUC(HD-MTX) and the IELSG score were significant predictors of EFS and OAS in the adjusted model, with a hazard ratio of 0.82 and 0.73, respectively, per 100 micromol l(-1) h(-1) increase in AUC(HD-MTX).
Conclusions: Individualised dosing of HD-MTX might have the potential to improve clinical outcome in patients with PCNSL, even when administered concurrently with HD-AraC. In the future, this could be carried out by using first-cycle PK modelling with determination of potential dose adaptations for later cycles using Bayesian analysis.