Neuro-Oncology Program

Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma

The following chemotherapy and biologic therapy drugs are used to treat primary central nervous system lymphoma.

  • Rituximab (Rituxan) is given intravenously. It is an antibody protein that specifically targets B-cell lymphoma and cause cancer cell death.
    • Common side effects may include infusion reaction (may include fever, chills, headache, itching, hives, nausea, low blood pressure, shortness of breath).
    • Less common side effects may include infection, low white blood cell count, severe infusion reaction, and acute renal failure from tumor lysis syndrome.
  • Methotrexate is an intravenous chemotherapy drug. It inhibits the mechanism of folic acid, causing DNA synthesis interruption and inhibits cellular replication.
    • Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, tiredness, low blood count, liver function abnormality, appetite loss.
    • Less common side effects may include infection, mouth sores.
    • Rare side effects may include acute liver failure, acute kidney failure, and lung damage.
  • Temozolamide (Temodar) is an oral drug that interferes with DNA synthesis and cellular replication.
    • Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, tiredness, hair loss, appetite loss, headache, constipation.
    • Less common side effects may include convulsion, severe headache, severe fatigue, low blood count, infection.
    • Rare side effects may include pneumonia due to Pneumocystis carinii organism.
  • Cytarabine (Ara-C) is an intravenous chemotherapy drug. It interferes with DNA synthesis and inhibits cellular replication.
    • Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, tiredness, appetite loss, mouth sores, diarrhea, fever, skin rash, liver function abnormality, low blood count.
    • Less common side effects may include skin ulceration, abdominal pain, eye irritation, infection, hair loss.
    • Rare side effects may include bowel perforation, acute kidney failure, and neurotoxicity.
  • Vincristine is an intravenous chemotherapy drug. It interferes with a cell division process.
    • Common side effects may include nerve damage, constipation, hair loss, tiredness, appetite loss.
    • Rare side effects include tissue damage when the drug leaks outside of blood vessel, hyponatremia, permanent nerve damage.
  • Procarbazine (Mutalane) is an oral chemotherapy drug. It interferes with DNA synthesis and cellular replication.
    • Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, tiredness, appetite loss.
    • Less common side effects may include low blood count, infection.