Author(s): Aboulafia DM, Puswella AL
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Abstract A 40-year-old male presented to medical attention with Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia and HIV infection. His CD4+ count was 18 cells per microliter and his HIV viral load (VL) was more than 400,000 copies milliliter. After 3 weeks of antibiotic therapy, he continued to have global cognitive deficits. A brain imaging study showed a right temporal mass, which on biopsy proved to be primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL). He began highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) but declined palliative whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT). Four months later, his CD4+ count had improved to 153 cells per microliter and his HIV VL was less than 75 copies per milliliter. At 36 months follow-up, he remained in complete remission (CR). Through a literature review, we identified 4 additional PCNSL patients who achieved prolonged remission after the initiation of HAART. One patient required WBRT and ventriculo-peritoneal shunting for signs and symptoms of obstructive hydrocephalus. The other 3 patients presented with stable neurologic findings and were treated with HAART alone. The median initial CD4+ count for these patients was 50 cells per microliter (range, 2 to 220 cells per microliter). All 5 remained in CR with a median follow-up of 23.5 (range, 13 to 36) months. For patients who present with PCNSL as their initial AIDS-defining event, stable neurologic findings, and effective HAART options, initial treatment with HAART alone may be possible, reserving WBRT and corticosteroids for those who show signs of impending neurologic demise. Chemotherapy and other novel approaches could also be considered for selected patients with lesser degrees of immune suppression and high baseline functional status.
This article was published in AIDS Patient Care STDS
and referenced in Journal of Blood Disorders & Transfusion