Primary CNS lymphoma (PCNSL) is a rare malignancy with peculiar clinical and biologic features, aggressive course, and unsatisfactory outcome. It represents a challenge for multidisciplinary clinicians and scientists as therapeutic progress is inhibited by several issues. Molecular and biologic knowledge is incomplete, limiting the identification of new therapeutic targets, and the particular microenvironment of this malignancy, and sanctuary sites where tumor cells grow undisturbed, strongly affects treatment efficacy. Moreover, active treatments are known to be associated with disabling neurotoxicity, posing the dilemma of whether to intensify therapy to improve the cure rate or to de-escalate treatment to avoid sequels. The execution of prospective trials is also difficult because of the rarity of the tumor and the impaired general condition and poor performance status of patients. Thus, level of evidence is low, with consequent uncertainties in therapeutic decisions and lack of consensus on primary endpoints for future trials. Despite this unfavorable background, laboratory and clinical researchers are coordinating efforts to develop new ideas, resulting in the recent publication of studies on PCNSL's biology and molecular mechanisms and of the first international randomized trials. Herein, these important contributions are analyzed to provide recommendations for everyday practice and the rationale for future trials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology