Initial response to glucocorticoids: A potentially important prognostic factor in patients with primary CNS lymphoma

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BACKGROUND. Known prognostic variables in patients with primary central nervous system lymphomas (PCNSL) include age, Karnofsky performance status, involvement of deep regions of the brain, intensity of blood-brain barrier disruption, and treatment with radiation and chemotherapy. PCNSL often responds transiently to glucocorticoids administered to control neurologic symptoms before radiation or chemotherapy. This retrospective chart review was designed to estimate the prognostic significance of a clinical or radiologic response to initial glucocorticoid therapy. METHODS. By using data from The Johns Hopkins Cancer Registry from January 1980 to June 2001, a total of 76 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative adults with newly diagnosed PCNSL were identified. Nineteen patients with uninformative medical records were excluded from the study. RESULTS. The median survival of the remaining 57 patients was 11.8 months. The median survival for the 48 patients who had clinical response to initial steroid therapy was 17.9 months, and for nonresponders, it was 5.5 months (P = 0.05). The 16 patients with documented radiologic response had a median survival of 117.0 months compared with 5.5 months for nonresponders (P = 0.001). After adjusting for known prognostic factors (age and treatment), significant reduction in risk of death was noted in patients who had either clinical (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.40; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.16-0.99}) or radiologic response (HR = 0.14; 95% CI, 0.04-0.46) to glucocorticoids given before radiation or chemotherapy. CONCLUSION. This analysis suggests that initial response to treatment with glucocorticoids may be an important prognostic factor in patients with PCNSL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-387
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2006


  • Dexamethasone
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Primary CNS lymphoma
  • Prognostic factors
  • Steroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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