High-dose methotrexate and rituximab induction regimen in immunocompetent patients with primary CNS lymphoma: a retrospective single-center study of survival predictors

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL) is an aggressive tumor that is confined to the CNS. Although the provision of high-dose methotrexate (HD-MTX) has remarkably improved outcomes in PCNSL patients, the optimal treatment regimens and standard MTX dose for induction therapy have been largely controversial. Herein, we sought to explore the impact of adjuvant rituximab and different dosages of induction HD-MTX on survival outcomes of immunocompetent patients with PCNSL. Methods: In this study, we examined patients with PCNSL treated at a single NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center to evaluate their survival outcomes. We conducted a retrospective analysis of 51 immunocompetent patients with PCNSL who received their induction chemotherapy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) between 2001 and 2019. Only adult patients with a confirmed diagnosis of PCNSL who had either HD-MTX alone or in combination with rituximab were included. Patients’ demographics, clinical characteristics, and survival data were collected and analyzed. Results: There is no significant difference in survival among patients who received MTX alone versus MTX plus rituximab (HR = 0.996 (95% CI: 0.398–2.493), p = 0.994). Lower doses of MTX were associated with worse survival outcomes (HR = 0.680 (95% CI: 0.530–0.872), p = 0.002); however, this difference in survival was not significant when adjusted to age (HR = 0.797 (95% CI: 0.584–1.088), p = 0.153). Conclusion: Our experience challenges the role of rituximab in PCNSL during induction therapy. Our study also highlights the shorter survival in elderly patients with PCNSL which can be related, to some extent, to the relatively lower doses of HD-MTX. There is an unmet need to establish a consensus on the most effective upfront regimen in PCNSL through prospective studies.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • DeAtkine AB; Abdelrashid M; Tucker Z; Mehta A; Markert JM; Kim J; Fiveash JB; Oster RA; Lobbous M; Nabors LB
  • Start Page

  • 33
  • End Page

  • 40
  • Volume

  • 158
  • Issue

  • 1