Elderly patients with primary central nervous ystem lymphoma (PCNSL) do not tolerate treatment with combined radio-chemotherapy well because of leuco-encephalopathy; they are usually treated initially with chemotherapy or radiotherapy alone. Little is known about the efficacy and toxicity of these treatments outside clinical studies. This study was a retrospective analysis of all patients aged 60 years or over who were admitted with PCNSL to one of five Dutch centers between 1998 and 2007. A total of 74 patients were identified. Twenty-nine were treated with radiotherapy only (Group A), in 36 the intended treatment was chemotherapy alone (Group B), and nine were planned to receive chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy (Group C). Median overall survival was 20 months; 4 months in patients with a Karnofsky performance status (KPS) <70, 25 months in patients with a KPS ≥ 70 (P < 0·001). Treatment modality was not an independent prognostic factor. Forty patients were treated with methotrexate 3 g/m2: there were two toxic deaths. Ten patients discontinued chemotherapy because of toxicity. Delayed encephalopathy was reported in 10 patients. In conclusion, community hospitals still frequently utilize whole brain radiotherapy in elderly PCNSL patients, though a majority tolerates chemotherapy well. Performance status was the most important variable determining prognosis. Short and long term toxicities must be weighed against possible clinical benefits of each treatment, making treatment decisions a highly individualized process.

Additional Metadata
Keywords age, aged, article, blood toxicity, brain disease, cancer chemotherapy, cancer radiotherapy, carmustine, central nervous system lymphoma, chemotherapy, dexamethasone, drug withdrawal, female, human, lung toxicity, major clinical study, male, methotrexate, nephrotoxicity, overall survival, performance status, primary central nervous system lymphoma, priority journal, radiotherapy, retrospective study, sepsis, teniposide, toxic epidermal necrolysis
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2141.2010.08328.x, hdl.handle.net/1765/21309
Journal British Journal of Haematology
Schuurmans, M, Bromberg, J.E.C, Doorduijn, J.K, Poortmans, P.M.P, Taphoorn, M.J.B, Seute, T, … van den Bent, M.J. (2010). Primary central nervous system lymphoma in the elderly: A multicentre retrospective analysis. British Journal of Haematology, 151(2), 179–184. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2010.08328.x