Medline: 9072309

Cancer Journal from Scientific American 3(1): 52-56, 1997.

Performance status and age as independent predictors of survival among AIDS patients with primary CNS lymphoma: a multivariate analysis of a multi-institutional experience.

Corn BW, Donahue BR, Rosenstock JG, et al.


There is limited information about the outcome of AIDS patients with primary central nervous system lymphoma treated with definitive irradiation. The purpose of this study was to determine factors associated with increased survival in such patients.

An analysis was performed of 163 patients with AIDS who were evaluated at nine urban hospitals. These patients were treated for primary central nervous system lymphoma after the establishment of a tissue diagnosis or on a presumptive basis after failing empiric treatment for toxoplasmosis. All patients were treated between 1983 and 1995 with radiotherapy (median dose-fractionation scheme = 3 Gy x 10) and steroids (> 90% dexamethasone). Because multiple fractionation schemes were used, prescriptions were converted to biologically effective dose according to the formula Gy10 = Total Dose x (1 + fractional dose/alpha-beta), using an alpha-beta of 10.

Longer median survival times were associated with high Karnofsky performance status (KPS > or = 70 vs < or = 60: 181 vs 77 days), young age (< 35 vs > 35: 162 vs 61 days), and high total definitive irradiation doses (> 39 Gy10 vs < 39 Gy10: 162 vs 40 days). Tissue diagnosis, gender, race, number of lesions (solitary vs multiple), and the presence of other cancers did not influence outcome. In multivariate analysis, young age, high Karnofsky performance status, and the delivery of higher biologically effective doses of irradiation retained independent significance relative to the endpoint of survival.

Even at urban tertiary medical centers, few AIDS patients with intracranial lesions undergo biopsies to establish a precise tissue diagnosis. Survival following definitive irradiation is strongly related to two pretreatment factors (young age, high performance status) and one treatment factor (total biologically effective dose of cranial radiotherapy). These variables should be considered in selecting patients for definitive irradiation and in designing future studies.

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