Single-route CNS prophylaxis for aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphomas: real-world outcomes from 21 US academic institutions

Blood. 2021 Sep 27;blood.2021012888. doi: 10.1182/blood.2021012888. Online ahead of print.


Prophylaxis is commonly used to prevent central nervous system (CNS) relapse in diffuse large B cell lymphoma, with no clear standard of care. We retrospectively evaluated 1162 adult patients across 21 US academic centers with DLBCL or similar histologies who received single-route CNS prophylaxis as part of frontline therapy between 2013-2019. Prophylaxis was administered intrathecally (IT) in 894 (77%) and using systemic high-dose methotrexate (HD-MTX) in 236 (20%); 32 patients (3%) switched route due to toxicity and were assessed separately. By CNS-International Prognostic Index (IPI), 18% were considered low-risk, 51% moderate, and 30% high. Double-hit lymphoma (DHL) was confirmed in 243 of 866 evaluable patients (21%). Sixty-four patients (5.7 %) had CNS relapse, after median 7.1 months from diagnosis, including 15 of 64 (23%) within the first 6 months. There was no significant difference in CNS relapse between IT and HD-MTX recipients (5.4 vs 6.8%, p=0.4), including after propensity score matching to account for differences between respective recipient groups. Weighting by CNS-IPI, expected versus observed CNS relapse rates were nearly identical (5.8 vs 5.7%). Testicular involvement was associated with high risk of CNS relapse (11.3%) despite most having lower CNS-IPI scores. DHL did not significantly predict for CNS relapse after single-route prophylaxis, including with adjustment for treatment regimen and other factors. This large study of CNS prophylaxis recipients with DLBCL found no significant difference in CNS relapse rates between routes of administration. Relapse rates among high-risk subgroups remain elevated and reconsideration of prophylaxis strategies in DLBCL is of critical need.