High-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation for primary central nervous system lymphoma: a multi-centre retrospective analysis from the United Kingdom

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The prognosis of patients with primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) has improved in recent years. This has partly been achieved by remission induction protocols incorporating high-dose methotrexate (HD-MTX) and rituximab. Given the high rates of relapse, consolidation therapy is usually considered in first response. Whole brain radiotherapy may prolong PFS but appears to confer no long-term survival advantage and is associated with significant neurocognitive dysfunction. Attempts to improve efficacy and reduce neurotoxicity of consolidation therapy have included thiotepa-based high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant (HDC-ASCT). This multi-centre, retrospective study reports the outcome of 70 patients undergoing HDC-ASCT for PCNSL in the United Kingdom. The median age at diagnosis was 56 years and all patients received HD-MTXcontaining induction regimens. All patients underwent HDC-ASCT in first response. The rate of complete response increased from 50% before HDC-ASCT to 77% following HDC-ASCT. Treatment-related mortality was 6%. At a median follow-up of 12 months from HDC-ASCT, the estimated 1- and 2-year PFS rates were 71.5% and overall survival 86.4% and 83.3%, respectively. These data are comparable to published studies of HDC-ASCT for PCNSL, supporting its feasibility and efficacy.

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