Central Nervous System Lymphoma

Primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma affects the tissues in the brain and spinal cord or the eye. An overall rare cancer, CNS lymphoma is a non-Hodgkin type of lymphoma which is more common in older people or in immunocompromised individuals, such as those taking anti-rejection drugs following an organ transplant or those who have Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Some of the symptoms include: headaches and confusion; vision problems; weakness or altered sensation in the face, arms, or legs; and, in some cases, seizures.

The main treatment for primary CNS lymphoma is usually chemotherapy. It is often given along with a targeted therapy drug and steroids, which reduces the effect of the tumour on the affected tissues by reducing the pressure on the brain or spinal cord, thus improving symptoms.

Clinical trials are being conducted to find new treatments for CNS lymphoma. One possibility is high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant. Stem cells can mature to become white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. As these are the cells which are abnormal in lymphoma patients, chemotherapy is used to destroy them, and they are then replaced with donor stem cells.

Targeted therapies also used to treat this type of cancer include monoclonal antibodies. This therapy attacks cancer cells while leaving healthy cells untouched.


Information taken from Lymphoma Research Foundation.