Is CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy a smart strategy to combat central nervous system lymphoma?

Kotaro Miyao, Hirofumi Yokota, R. Leo Sakemura

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) is a rare form and aggressive type of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) that occurs in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised adults. While adding rituximab to chemotherapeutic regimens resulted in dramatic improvement in both progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with non-central nervous system (CNS) DLBCL, the outcomes of PCNSL are generally poor due to the immune-privileged tumor microenvironment or suboptimal delivery of systemic agents into tumor tissues. Therefore, more effective therapy for PCNSL generally requires systemic therapy with sufficient CNS penetration, including high-dose intravenous methotrexate with rituximab or high-dose chemotherapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation. However, overall survival is usually inferior in comparison to non-CNS lymphomas, and treatment options are limited for elderly patients or patients with relapsed/refractory disease. Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell therapy has emerged as a cutting-edge cancer therapy, which led to recent FDA approvals for patients with B-cell malignancies and multiple myeloma. Although CAR-T cell therapy in patients with PCNSL demonstrated promising results without significant toxicities in some small cohorts, most cases of PCNSL are excluded from the pivotal CAR-T cell trials due to the concerns of neurotoxicity after CAR-T cell infusion. In this review, we will provide an overview of PCNSL and highlight current approaches, resistance mechanisms, and future perspectives of CAR-T cell therapy in patients with PCNSL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1082235
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
StatePublished - Jan 5 2023


  • CAR-T cell
  • CNS
  • CNS penetration
  • local administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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