primary_central_nervous_system_alk-negative_anaplastic_large_cell_lymphoma

Primary central nervous system ALK-negative anaplastic large cell lymphoma

see also Primary central nervous system ALK-positive anaplastic large cell lymphoma


Primary central nervous system anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-negative anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is an extremely rare type of primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL).

There are only nine cases reported in the literature to date, most of which have an overall survival time of no more than 8 months. Yuan et al. reported such a rare case that has a good outcome with the longest survival time and performed a literature review 1).


George et al. reported four new cases of primary central nervous system ALCL from the Mayo Clinic and incorporated additional data from five previously published cases. ALK-1 expression was determined in all nine tumors. Patient age was 4-66 years (mean 29 years) with a bimodal distribution: 6 < or = 22 years, 3 > or = 50 years. Six were female. Tumors were mostly supratentorial, five were multifocal, and seven had involvement of dura or leptomeninges. Seven tumors were T cells, two were null cells, and five of nine were ALK-1 immunopositive. Total mortality was six of nine. Three patients, 4-18 years of age (mean 13 years), were alive at 4.8-6.1 years postdiagnosis; these tumors were all ALK-positive. Five patients, 13-66 years of age (mean 43 years), died of tumor 4 days to 11 weeks postdiagnosis; four of five of these tumors were ALK-negative. One 10-year-old child with an ALK-positive tumor died of sepsis, but in remission. The central nervous system ALCL is aggressive. The study suggests that a better outcome may be associated with young age and ALK-1 positivity, prognostic parameters similar to systemic ALCL 2).


A review demonstrated that ALK-negative ALCL exhibits a poor prognosis and is very often fatal. The majority of ALK-negative patients were treated with radiotherapy or supportive care, due to their older age or poor PS. As ALK-negative ALCL tends to occur in older individuals, similar to PCNSL and DLBCL, chemoradiotherapy including HD-MTX should be initiated earlier.

In conclusion, findings indicate that the prognosis of ALCL of the CNS is correlated with ALK positivity and patient age of <40 years. Chemoradiotherapy with MTX is recommended as the standard treatment for ALCL. However, additional multicenter studies including large numbers of cases are required 3).

A 19-year-old male patient was admitted to the hospital complaining of dizziness. CT and MRI imaging showed a heterogeneous enhanced lesion in the left parieto-occipital lobe and the leptomeninges of the occipital lobe and the cerebellum. The lesion was resected and confirmed to be ALK-negative ALCL by pathological examination. Then, the patient received 10 cycles of chemotherapy with high-dose methotrexate (HD-MTX) and whole brain radiotherapy. The patient recovered well and was regularly followed up. He was free of symptoms without recurrence on imaging examination 3 years later. ALCL is a rare type of PCNSL. HD-MTX combined with radiation is an effective therapeutic approach. However, further prospective studies with a large number of patients are needed to identify the biological characteristics of this rare type of PCNSL 4).


1) , 4)
Yuan C, Duan H, Wang Y, Zhang J, Ou J, Wang W, Zhang M. Primary central nervous system ALK-negative anaplastic large cell lymphoma: a case report and literature review. Ann Palliat Med. 2021 Jul 1:apm-21-557. doi: 10.21037/apm-21-557. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34263607.
2)
George DH, Scheithauer BW, Aker FV, Kurtin PJ, Burger PC, Cameselle-Teijeiro J, McLendon RE, Parisi JE, Paulus W, Roggendorf W, Sotelo C. Primary anaplastic large cell lymphoma of the central nervous system: prognostic effect of ALK-1 expression. Am J Surg Pathol. 2003 Apr;27(4):487-93. doi: 10.1097/00000478-200304000-00008. PMID: 12657933.
3)
Nomura M, Narita Y, Miyakita Y, Ohno M, Fukushima S, Maruyama T, Muragaki Y, Shibui S. Clinical presentation of anaplastic large-cell lymphoma in the central nervous system. Mol Clin Oncol. 2013 Jul;1(4):655-660. doi: 10.3892/mco.2013.110. Epub 2013 Apr 30. PMID: 24649224; PMCID: PMC3915681.
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