AIDS-related primary central nervous system lymphoma: a Norwegian national survey 1989–2003
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: Primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) is a frequent complication in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The objective of this survey was to investigate incidence, clinical features, radiological findings, histologic diagnosis, treatment and outcome for all patients with histologically verified AIDS-related PCNSL diagnosed in Norway in 1989–2003. Methods: We identified the patients by chart review of all cases recorded as PCNSL in The Norwegian Cancer Registry (by law recording all cases of cancer in Norway) and all cases recorded as AIDS-related PCNSL in the autopsy registry at a hospital having 67% autopsy rate and treating 59% of AIDS patients in Norway, from 1989 to 2003. Histologic material and radiological images were reviewed. We used person-time techniques to calculate incidence rates of PCNSL among AIDS patients based on recordings on AIDS at the Norwegian Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases (by law recording all cases of AIDS in Norway). Results: Twenty-nine patients had histologically confirmed, newly diagnosed AIDS-related PCNSL in Norway from 1989–2003. Only 2 patients had this diagnosis established while alive. AIDS patients had 5.5% lifetime risk of PCNSL. Their absolute incidence rate of PCNSL per 100 personyears was 1.7 (95%CI: 1.1–2.4) and decreased during the consecutive 5-year periods from 3.6, to 2.5, and to 0.4 (p < 0.001). Median survival from initial symptom of PCNSL was 2.3 months, but one patient was still alive 4 years after completed radiotherapy. Conclusion: This is the first national survey to confirm decreasing incidence of AIDS-related PCNSL. Despite dismal survival in most patients, the possibility of long term survival should prompt more aggressive diagnostics in suspected PCNSL.