Update on Novel Therapeutics for Primary CNS Lymphoma

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Oct 26;13(21):5372. doi: 10.3390/cancers13215372.


Primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) is a rare lymphoma isolated to the central nervous system or vitreoretinal space. Standard treatment consists of cytotoxic methotrexate-based chemotherapy, with or without radiation. Despite high rates of response, relapse is common, highlighting the need for novel therapeutic approaches. Recent advances in the understanding of PCNSL have elucidated mechanisms of pathogenesis and resistance including activation of the B-cell receptor and mammalian target of rapamycin pathways. Novel treatment strategies such as the Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor ibrutinib, phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) inhibitors, and immunomodulatory drugs are promising. Increasingly, evidence suggests immune evasion plays a role in PCNSL pathogenesis and several immunotherapeutic strategies including checkpoint inhibition and targeted chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cells are under investigation. This review provides a discussion on the challenges in development of targeted therapeutic strategies, an update on recent treatment advances, and offers a look toward ongoing clinical studies.

Keywords: CNS lymphoma; PCNSL; methotrexate; novel therapeutics; novel therapies.

Publication types

  • Review