Primary CNS Lymphoma

Primary Central Nervous System (CNS) Lymphoma is a rare type of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) that is limited to the CNS, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, eyes, and meninges (the lining of the brain and spinal cord). Most commonly, patients with primary CNS lymphoma have masses found only in the brain. The cell of origin for Primary CNS Lymphoma is a white blood cell called the lymphocyte. Although most times, lymphoma is found in the blood and lymph nodes outside the brain, in Primary CNS Lymphoma, the disease starts in the brain or other nervous system structures and is not found anywhere else in the body. Secondary CNS lymphoma refers to the situation when the lymphoma starts in another part of your body and then travels to one of the CNS structures, like the spinal cord and brain. These two entities are considered different diseases and are treated in different ways.

The main symptoms of Primary CNS Lymphoma result from the increased pressure within the skull. This pressure can lead to headaches, vomiting, vision and balance problems, as well as seizures. Lesions that originate in the spinal cord can lead to difficulty walking, urinating, or moving your bowels. Here at Columbia University Medical Center, we have a highly specialized team of physicians who have unique expertise not only in lymphoma care, but also in Neuroradiology, Surgery, Neuro-oncology and Neurosurgery. These highly specialized teams work together to provide a very cohesive approach to these unusual diseases

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Primary CNS Lymphoma