Diagnosis, prophylaxis and treatment of central nervous system involvement by non-Hodgkin lymphoma in HIV-infected patients

Pilar Miralles, Juan Berenguer, Josep Maria Ribera

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1 Citation (Scopus)


With the widespread use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) the incidence of systemic non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in patients infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has declined. HAART has also modified the clinical manifestations of these tumors, with a lower frequency of involvement of the central nervous system (CNS). Currently, the frequency of meningeal involvement at the time of diagnosis of NHL in HIV-infected patients varies between 3% and 5%. These figures are similar to those observed among immunocompetent hosts. The diagnosis of meningeal lymphoma relies in clinical findings, imaging techniques, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination. Flow cytometry is a diagnostic technique with a higher sensitivity and specificity than conventional cytology for the diagnosis of meningeal lymphoma. However, flow cytometry is not yet considered to be the gold standard for this purpose. Until recently, most experts recommended neuromeningeal prophylaxis for all HIV-infected patients with aggressive NHL. However, at present this prophylaxis is recommended only in patients with higher risk of CNS relapse according to different sites of involvement, stage and histological subtype. There are different regimens of prophylaxis and treatment for meningeal lymphoma. The drugs most commonly used for this purpose are methotrexate and cytosine arabinoside. However, there are other alternatives such as liposomal cytosine arabinoside that requires fewer spinal taps for drug administration and whose results are very promising. In summary, in the context of an effective HAART, HIV infected patients with NHL have a frequency of CNS involvement by lymphoma similar to that found among immunocompetent hosts. Consequently, indications and regimens for CNS prophylaxis in HIV-infected patients with NHL should not be different than those employed in the general population. Universal CNS prophylaxis should be reserved for the few patients unable to receive an effective HAART. © 2009 Elsevier España, S.L. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-422
JournalMedicina Clinica
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2010


  • AIDS
  • Central nervous system
  • Flow cytometry
  • HIV
  • Meningeal prophylaxis
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma


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