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BACKGROUND: Chemotherapy with high-dose methotrexate (HD-MTX) followed by whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) is a conventional approach to treat primary central nervous system lymphomas (PCNSL), but some tumors relapse early leading to unfavorable outcome. Several biomarkers have been identified as prognostic factors in PCNSL, however, the correlation of both clinical factors including those related to MTX metabolism and B-cell differentiation and oncogenic biomarkers with response to and outcome by therapy is yet unclear. METHODS: We investigated 32 immunocompetent patients (19 males, 13 females) with PCNSL (all diffuse large B-cell type) treated with HD-MTX based therapy with or without WBRT since 2000 in our institution. Paraffin-embedded formalin-fixed tumor tissue sections were stained immunohistochemically with antibodies against following factors: B-cell differentiation markers (CD10, Bcl-6, Mum-1, CD138); MTX metabolism-related (MRP family, LRP, DHFR); cell cycle-related (p27KIP1, MIB-1); drug resistance-related (MGMT, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2); and oncogenes (Myc, Bcl-2). Correlation between positivity of these factors and clinical outcomes were evaluated using logrank test and cox regression analysis. RESULTS: Among these factors, complete response to HD-MTX was significantly associated with longer progression-free survival (PFS)(P = 0.0012), while Bcl-6 expression as well as histological subtype (non-germinal center B-cell, non-GCB) was closely correlated with shorter PFS. Age (>60) (P = 0.006) and MSH2 expression (P = 0.017) were found to be better predictor for overall survival (OS), but in multivariate analysis, they were no longer significant. Other factors involved in MTX metabolism, DNA repair enzymes, and oncogenes did not affect outcome. CONCLUSIONS: Non-GCB subtype and Bcl-6 expression may be associated with worse outcome in patients with PCNSL treated with HD-MTX, while MTX-metabolism related factors did not influence prognosis. Further investigation is needed to assess Bcl-6 as a potential prognostic factor in PCNSL. SECONDARY CATEGORY: Clinical Neuro-Oncology.

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