Combination chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy has had only modest efficacy in the treatment of primary CNS lymphoma. Median survival of these patients, treated primarily with radiotherapy, is 13 months; 5-year survival is less than 5%. Thirty consecutive non-acquired immune deficiency syndrome patients with primary CNS lymphoma were treated with barrier-dependent chemotherapy using intraarterial mannitol to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Follow-up included extensive neuropsychologic testing of all patients. Thirteen patients received cranial radiation 1 to 9 months before referral (group 1). Seventeen patients received initial BBB disruption chemotherapy with subsequent radiation only for tumor progression or recurrence (group 2). The difference in median survivals from diagnosis - 17.8 months for group 1 and 44.5 months for group 2 - was statistically significant (P = .039). Group 1 survival is comparable with the 20-month median survival of a historical series of patients (n = 208) treated with radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy. Group 2 patient survival represents an advance in the survival of CNS lymphoma and was associated with preservation of cognitive function in six of seven nonirradiated complete responders observed for 1 to 7 years. Patient toxicity was manageable in this intensive therapeutic regimen. In this series, a plateau in survival curves suggests that a major portion of these patients may be cured without the neuropsychologic sequelae associated with cranial radiation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research