According to a story from Science Daily, a team of scientists from Johns Hopkins Medicine conducted a review of studies going back nearly 50 years and have concluded that surgery could be a viable treatment option for a certain type of rare primary central nervous system lymphoma. Surgery has never been a common approach for this type of cancer, but these findings could begin to change that. In the past surgery was often avoided because of the possibility of brain injury.
About Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNS)
Primary central nervous system (PCNS) lymphoma, also known as microglioma, is a rare type of lymphoma that appears in the brain, eyes, spinal cord, and surrounding tissues. It often affects older people or those with compromised immune systems. It often affects people with AIDS and is also associated with the Epstein-Barr virus. Primary central nervous system lymphoma can cause a number of symptoms, such as changes to mental state, seizures, headaches, face numbness, double vision, weight loss, night sweats, fever, dementia, vertigo, difficulty swallowing, and other vision issues. Treatment may include methotrexate, stem cell transplant, other chemotherapies, radiation therapy, and corticosteroids. This lymphoma can be rapidly lethal in the immunocompromised, though treatment with methotrexate can significantly improve survival times in patients with healthy immune systems. To learn more about primary central nervous system lymphoma, click here.
When is Surgery an Option?
The report highlights two different variants of primary central nervous system lymphoma that can easily be recognized through the use of an MRI. One form was not as deeply embedded in the brain tissue and was only localized, making it more suitable for surgical removal. The scientists estimated that around 20 percent of the patients with the superficial, localized form could be eligible for surgery after being treated with methotrexate.
They found that there were several more recent studies that appeared to indicate that surgery could be useful in certain cases of the disease. Surgery was more likely to be considered in patients that were younger, had more well differentiated tumors, and had tumors that were in superficial tissue. Many older studies were conclusively against surgery, but these studies were less likely to distinguish between different types of primary central nervous system lymphoma.
Check out the original study here.