CNS relapse of diffuse large B cell Lymphoma: A single centre experience

Adil Nazir, Fawad ., Neelam Siddique, Abdul Hameed


Background and Objective: Central nervous system (CNS) relapse of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is relatively uncommon and nearly fatal. Two years CNS relapse risk is 0.8% in low, 3.9% in intermediate and 12 % in high risk patients. Our aim was to study, the baseline characteristics and outcome in term of median survival of DLBCL patients with CNS relapse.

Methods: This is a retrospective analysis. All patients of DLBCL with CNS relapse from 2006 to 2014 were included. Data were collected from computerized Hospital Information System and analyzed for characteristics and median survival.

Results: Out of twenty one patients included in the study, 14(66.3%) males and 7(33.7%) were females. On initial diagnosis of DLBCL, median age was 37.4 years (27-47). Ann Arbor stage of I-IV was in 3 (14.3%), 2(9.5%), 4(19%) and 12(57.1%) patients, respectively. Extra-nodal involvement was noted in 16(76.2%), high LDH in 18(85.7%), bone marrow involvement in 8(38.1%) and bulky disease in 5(23.8%) patients. International Prognostic Index (IPI) score was 1 in 4(19%), 2 in 9(42.9%), 3 in 8(38.1%) patients. Extra-nodal sites were gut in 2(9.1%) while 1(4.5%) patient of each of following organs involvement was seen: cervix, gluteal muscle, iliac bone, liver, ovaries, pancreas, parotid gland and testes. Chemotherapy CHOP was given to 16(76.2%) and RCHOP in 5(23.8%) patients. Prophylactic intrathecal methotrexate was given to 10(47.6%) patients. Complete response was in 10 (47.6%), partial response was in 3 (14.3%) and disease progression was in 8 (38.1%) patients. CNS relapse occurred in 17 (81%) patients within six months after completion of therapy. CNS relapse along with systemic disease was in 14(66.6%) patients. Isolated CNS relapse was noted in 7(33.3%) patients. Second line chemotherapy regimens were HDMTX 5(23.8%), HDMTX/TRIO IT 3(14.2%), HDMTX/HDAC 2(9.5%), HCVAD 3(14.2%), ICE 4(19.4%), DHAP 1(4.7%), ICE/HDMTX 1(4.7%), none 2(9.5%). Overall median survival of CNS relapsed patients was 54 days.

Conclusion: Patients with DLBCL who had advanced stage, high LDH and extra-nodal involvement at initial presentation are at high risk for CNS relapse. About half of the patients had CNS relapse despite primary CNS prophylaxis. Once relapsed in CNS, these patients have very poor prognosis. 


How to cite this:Nazir A, Fawad, Siddique N, Hameed A. CNS relapse of diffuse large B cell Lymphoma: A single centre experience. Pak J Med Sci. 2017;33(6):1454-1458.   doi:

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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