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Primary Central Nervous System Lymphomas

A primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma is a type of malignant tumor derived from white blood cells in the brain. They usually are found in the frontal lobes and around the ventricles of the brain.

Although these tumors are historically uncommon, they are being diagnosed in greater numbers in patients with suppressed immune systems because of AIDS or a transplant operation. Also at increased risk for developing primary CNS lymphomas are patients with rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, Epstein-Barr viral infections, collagen vascular disease and systemic lupus erythematosus.


We take a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and treatment of these lymphomas, involving our neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists and neurosurgeons.

Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are used to identify these tumors. Your physicians also may conduct scans of the chest and abdomen, bone marrow biopsy and testicular ultrasound and eye exams to determine whether the tumor originated elsewhere in the body.


  • Surgery

A biopsy may be performed with stereotactic neurosurgery.

  • Steroid therapy

Steroid therapy can reduce or eliminate tumor cells temporarily, however the benefits are short-lived.

  • Radiation therapy

Lymphomas respond to external radiation in about 80 percent of patients but the lesions tend to recur. Radiation is considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • Chemotherapy

Adding systemic high-dose chemotherapy to the regimen has led to improved survival rates

  • Intrathecal chemotherapy

Anti-cancer drugs delivered directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may be perform in the case of advanced dissemination of the tumor.   

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 714-456-8000 or email us. A team physician will respond within 24 hours.

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