Case 01-2017—Primary vitreoretinal lymphoma (PVRL): report of a case and update of literature from 1942 to 2016

Yujuan Wang, Dik S. Cheung, Chi-Chao Chan


Primary vitreoretinal lymphoma (PVRL), as a subset of primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL), is a rare and fatal ocular malignancy. Most PVRL masquerades as chronic posterior uveitis, which makes the clinical diagnosis challenging. Vitreous cells, subretinal lesions and imaging techniques are essential for clinical diagnosis. Importantly, cytopathology/histopathology identification of malignant cells is the gold standard for the diagnosis of PVRL. In addition, molecular detection of immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) or T cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangements, immunophenotyping for cell markers, and cytokine analysis of interleukine-10 elevation are often used as adjunct procedures. Current management of PVRL involves local radiation, intravitreal chemotherapy (methotrexate and rituximab), with or without systemic chemotherapy depending on the involvement of non-ocular tissues. In cases with concomitant PCNSL, systemic high-dose methotrexate/rituximab based therapy in conjunction with local therapy, whole brain radiotherapy and/or autologous stem cell transplantation is considered. Although PVRL normally responds well to initial treatment, high rates of relapse and CNS involvement usually lead to poor prognosis and limited survival. A professional team of medical experts in ophthalmologists, ocular pathologists, neuro-oncologists and hemato-oncologists is essential for optimizing patient management.