Treatment strategies, outcomes and prognostic factors in 291 patients with secondary CNS involvement by diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Tarec Christoffer El-Galaly, Chan Yoon Cheah, Mette Dahl Bendtsen, Grzegorz S. Nowakowski, Roopesh Kansara, Kerry J. Savage, Joseph M. Connors, Laurie H. Sehn, Neta Goldschmidt, Adir Shaulov, Umar Farooq, Brian K. Link, Andrés J.M. Ferreri, Teresa Calimeri, Caterina Cecchetti, Eldad J. Dann, Carrie A. Thompson, Tsofia Inbar, Matthew J. Maurer, Inger Lise GadeMaja Bech Juul, Jakob W. Hansen, Staffan Holmberg, Thomas S. Larsen, Sabrina Cordua, N. George Mikhaeel, Martin Hutchings, John F. Seymour, Michael Roost Clausen, Daniel Smith, Stephen Opat, Michael Gilbertson, Gita Thanarajasingam, Diego Villa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Purpose: Secondary CNS involvement (SCNS) is a profoundly adverse complication of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Evidence from older series indicated a median overall survival (OS) < 6 months; however, data from the immunochemotherapy era are limited. Methods: Patients diagnosed with SCNS during or after first-line immunochemotherapy were identified from databases and/or regional/national registries from three continents. Clinical information was retrospectively collected from medical records. Results: In total, 291 patients with SCNS were included. SCNS occurred as part of first relapse in 254 (87%) patients and 113 (39%) had concurrent systemic relapse. With a median post-SCNS follow-up of 48 months, the median post-SCNS OS was 3.9 months and 2-year OS rate was 20% (95% CI: 15–25). In multivariable analysis of 173 patients treated with curative/intensive therapy (such as high-dose methotrexate [HDMTX] or platinum-containing regimens), age ≤60 years, performance status 0–1, absence of combined leptomeningeal and parenchymal involvement, and SCNS occurring after completion of first-line therapy were associated with superior outcomes. Patients ≤60 years with performance status 0–1 and treated with HDMTX-based regimens for isolated parenchymal SCNS had a 2-year OS of 62% (95% CI: 36–80). In patients with isolated SCNS, the addition of rituximab to HDMTX-based regimens was associated with improved OS. Amongst patients with isolated SCNS in CR following intensive treatment, high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation did not improve OS (P = 0.9). Conclusions: In this large international cohort of patients treated with first-line immunochemotherapy, outcomes following SCNS remain poor. However, a moderate proportion of patients with isolated SCNS who received intensive therapies achieved durable remissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-68
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Autologous stem cell transplant
  • Central nervous system
  • Diffuse large B-Cell lymphoma
  • Rituximab
  • Secondary CNS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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