Advances in Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma

Curr Oncol Rep. 2015 Dec;17(12):60. doi: 10.1007/s11912-015-0483-8.


Primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) is a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that is limited to the CNS. Although novel imaging techniques aid in discriminating lymphoma from other brain tumors, definitive diagnosis requires brain biopsy, vitreoretinal biopsy, or cerebrospinal fluid analysis. Survival rates in clinical studies have improved over the past 20 years due to the addition of high-dose methotrexate-based chemotherapy regimens to whole-brain radiotherapy. Long-term survival, however, is complicated by clinically devastating delayed neurotoxicity. Newer regimens are attempting to reduce or eliminate radiotherapy from first-line treatment with chemotherapy dose intensification. Significant advances have also been made in the fields of pathobiology and treatment, with more targeted treatments on the horizon. The rarity of the disease makes conducting of prospective clinical trials challenging, requiring collaborative efforts between institutions. This review highlights recent advances in the biology, detection, and treatment of PCNSL in immunocompetent patients.

Keywords: Bone marrow transplant; Diffuse large B cell lymphoma; High-dose methotrexate; Leptomeningeal metastases; Leukoencephalopathy; Ocular lymphoma; Primary central nervous system lymphoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / pathology
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Consolidation Chemotherapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Induction Chemotherapy / methods
  • Lymphoma / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma / pathology
  • Lymphoma / therapy*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Salvage Therapy / methods


  • Antineoplastic Agents