Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 477–488 | Cite as

Primary central nervous system lymphoma in patients with and without HIV infection: a multicenter study and comparison with U.S national data

  • Dima Dandachi
  • Quinn T. Ostrom
  • Insun Chong
  • Jose A. Serpa
  • Thomas P. Giordano
  • Carol Kruchko
  • Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan
  • Nathan Fowler
  • Rivka R. Colen
  • Fanny E. MorónEmail author
Original Paper



Primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) in patients living with HIV (PLWH) is a distinct entity; however, the management is adopted from patients without HIV. The study aims to examine the differences in presentation, treatment, and outcomes of PCNSL patients with or without HIV.


We retrospectively compared the characteristics of 144 patients with PCNSL with and without HIV, and analyzed factors associated with overall and progression-free survival. Results were compared to the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) system.


Among all patients with PCNSL, 19% had HIV. PLWH were younger (38 vs. 63 years; p < 0.01) and more likely to be African American (59% vs. 7%; p < 0.01) and male (74% vs. 49%; p = 0.02) than patients without HIV. PLWH were more likely to have multiple lesions (67% vs. 43%; p = 0.02), hemorrhage (59 vs. 37%; p = 0.03), and peripheral rim enhancement (57% vs. 7%; p < 0.01) on imaging; to receive palliative care (15% vs. 2%) or whole brain radiation (63% vs. 3%); and less likely to receive chemotherapy (22% vs. 95%) (p < 0.01). Twenty-four patients, none PLWH, underwent stem cell transplant. Not receiving transplant was an independent factor in mortality and disease progression. Our cohort of patients, compared to the national database, were younger (60 vs. 65 years), 58% were white vs. 75%, and had longer median overall survival 43 vs. 25 months.


Epidemiology, imaging, and treatment options for patients with PCNSL with and without HIV differ, but HIV was not an independent factor of mortality or disease progression. More efforts are needed to improve access to research and treatment options for PLWH with PCNSL.


Primary central nervous system lymphoma HIV Stem cell transplant Incidence Prognosis Treatment 



We thank the Department of Scientific Publications at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for editorial assistance.


QTO is supported by a Research Training Grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT; RP160097T). Funding for the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) was provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under Contract No. 2016-M-9030, the American Brain Tumor Association, The Sontag Foundation, Novocure, AbbVie, the Musella Foundation, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, as well as private, and in-kind donations. Contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the CDC or the VA.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors have read and approved this manuscript and have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dima Dandachi
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Quinn T. Ostrom
    • 4
    • 5
  • Insun Chong
    • 6
  • Jose A. Serpa
    • 2
  • Thomas P. Giordano
    • 2
    • 7
  • Carol Kruchko
    • 5
  • Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan
    • 5
    • 8
  • Nathan Fowler
    • 9
  • Rivka R. Colen
    • 10
    • 11
  • Fanny E. Morón
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious DiseasesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious DiseasesBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee HealthThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Duncan Cancer CenterBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  5. 5.Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United StatesHinsdaleUSA
  6. 6.Department of RadiologyBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  7. 7.Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and SafetyMichael E. DeBakey VA Medical CenterHoustonUSA
  8. 8.Case Comprehensive Cancer CenterCase Western Reserve University School of MedicineClevelandUSA
  9. 9.Department of Lymphoma/MyelomaThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  10. 10.Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Division of Diagnostic ImagingThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  11. 11.Department of Cancer Systems Imaging, Division of Diagnostic ImagingThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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