A retrospective study of 222 patients with newly diagnosed primary central nervous system lymphoma—Outcomes indicative for improved survival overtime

Osnat Bairey*, Eyal Lebel, Chen Buxbaum, Tzvika Porges, Alisa Taliansky, Ronit Gurion, Neta Goldschmidt, Tzahala Tzuk Shina, Miri Zektser, Liron Hofstetter, Tali Siegal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) is a rare disease with an incidence of 0.4/per 100,000 person-years. As there is a limited number of prospective randomized trials in PCNSL, large retrospective studies on this rare disease may yield information that might prove useful for the future design of randomized clinical trials. We retrospectively analyzed the data of 222 newly diagnosed PCNSL patients treated in five referral centers in Israel between 2001 and 2020. During this period, combination therapy became the treatment of choice, rituximab has been added to the induction therapy, and consolidation with irradiation was largely laid off and was mostly replaced by high-dose chemotherapy with or without autologous stem cell transplantation (HDC-ASCT). Patients older than 60 comprised 67.5% of the study population. First-line treatment included high-dose methotrexate (HD-MTX) in 94% of patients with a median MTX dose of 3.5 g/m2 (range 1.14–6 g/m2) and a median cycle number of 5 (range 1–16). Rituximab was given to 136 patients (61%) and consolidation treatment to 124 patients (58%). Patients treated after 2012 received significantly more treatment with HD-MTX and rituximab, more consolidation treatments, and autologous stem cell transplantation. The overall response rate was 85% and the complete response (CR)/unconfirmed CR rate was 62.1%. After a median follow-up of 24 months, the median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 21.9 and 43.5 months respectively with a significant improvement since 2012 (PFS: 12.5 vs. 34.2 p = 0.006 and OS: 19.9 vs. 77.3 p = 0.0003). A multivariate analysis found that the most important factors related to OS were obtaining a CR followed by rituximab treatment and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status. The observed improvement in outcomes may be due to multiple components such as an intention to treat all patients regardless of age with HD-MTX-based combination chemotherapy, treatment in dedicated centers, and more aggressive consolidation with the introduction of HDC-ASCT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)838-847
Number of pages10
JournalHematological Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • autologous stem cell transplantation
  • consolidation
  • high-dose methotrexate
  • population-based study
  • primary CNS lymphoma
  • rituximab


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