Central nervous system involvement in mantle cell lymphoma: clinical features, prognostic factors and outcomes from the European Mantle Cell Lymphoma Network†

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Central nervous system (CNS) involvement in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is uncommon, and the manifestations and natural history are not well described.

Patients and methods

We present the data on 57 patients with MCL who developed CNS involvement, from a database of 1396 consecutively treated patients at 14 institutions.


The crude incidence of CNS involvement was 4.1%, with 0.9% having CNS involvement at diagnosis. Blastoid histology, B-symptoms, elevated lactate dehydrogenase, Eastern Cooperative Group performance status ≥2 and a high Mantle Cell Lymphoma International Prognostic Index score were enriched in the cohort with CNS involvement, and the presence of ≥1 of these features defined a high-risk subset (an actuarial risk of CNS involvement 15% at 5 years) in a single-institution subset. The median time to CNS relapse was 15.2 months, and the median survival from time of CNS diagnosis was 3.7 months. The white blood cell count at diagnosis <10.9 × 109/l, treatment of CNS involvement with high-dose anti-metabolites, consolidation with stem cell transplant and achievement of complete response were all associated with improved survival.


In MCL, CNS involvement is uncommon, although some features may predict risk. Once manifest outlook is poor; however, some patients who receive intensive therapy survive longer than 12 months.

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