Research Papers:

Radiotherapy as an alternative treatment option for primary central nervous system lymphoma patients who are noncandidates for chemotherapy

Yoo-Kang Kwak, Byung-Ock Choi _, Kyu Hye Choi, Jong Hoon Lee, Soo Yoon Sung and Yun Hee Lee

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:106858-106865. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22427

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Yoo-Kang Kwak1, Byung-Ock Choi1, Kyu Hye Choi1, Jong Hoon Lee2, Soo Yoon Sung2 and Yun Hee Lee3

1Department of Radiation Oncology, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea

2Department of Radiation Oncology, St. Vincent’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea

3Department of Radiation Oncology, Gyeongsang National University School of Medicine and Gyeongsang National University Hospital, Jinju, Korea

Correspondence to:

Byung-Ock Choi, email: [email protected]

Keywords: primary central nervous system lymphoma; lymphoma; radiotherapy; palliation; survival

Received: September 15, 2017     Accepted: October 27, 2017     Published: November 10, 2017


The standard treatment for primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma is based on chemotherapy. However, there are patients who are not indicated for chemotherapy and when left untreated, the expected functional outcomes for these patients are devastating since the disease causes various neurologic symptoms. Therefore, we assessed the effects of radiotherapy as an alternative therapy in primary CNS lymphoma. Thirty-two patients were diagnosed with primary CNS lymphoma and treated with radiotherapy alone. Patients received whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) to a median dose of 30 Gy (range, 14.4–50 Gy) and the median total radiotherapy dose was 50 Gy (range, 30–54 Gy). The status on neurologic symptoms before and after radiotherapy was inquired during the regular follow-ups. The progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) rates for the enrolled patients were calculated. The median follow-up time was 21 months. All but one of the patients presented with neurologic symptoms. The most common symptoms were hemiparesis and headache. After radiotherapy, these symptoms were relieved in 27 patients (84.4%). The median PFS and OS rates were 15.8 and 16.3 months, respectively. Twenty patients (62.5%) experienced recurrent disease at follow up and among them, fifteen patients (46.9%) had intracranial recurrence. The median intracranial PFS was 19.3 months. Untreated primary CNS lymphoma causes neurologic deficits and the survival after only supportive care is poor. Therefore, when chemotherapy is unfeasible, an alternative treatment should be applied and radiotherapy can be a practical option.

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