Research finds Eye Cancer May Not Always Develop and Spread to CNS

New research from Okayama University’s research team reveals that eye cancer, primary intraocular lymphoma does not always originate and grow into the central nervous system. Scientists are unable to find any biomarker for predicting cancer, how and from where it develops. This report of the study was published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hematopathology in JAPAN on Dec 04, 2019.

Click here to read the complete research findings.

Primary intraocular lymphoma (PIOL), an eye cancer that originates from the lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are the cells of the immune system that fight against the infections in the body. When the cells called lymphocytes grow in an uncontrolled manner then a condition developed called lymphoma.

Primary intraocular lymphoma is the cancer of the eye. It involves the retina, the vitreous chamber located in the middle of the eye and optic nerve. It establishes the opacity of the gel in the chamber, which is followed by lesions in the retina of the eye present in the subretinal pigment epithelium.

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It was thought that PIOL develops central nervous lymphoma that occurs due to abnormal or overgrowth of the lymphocytes in the spinal cord and central nervous system. Now scientists are not clear about this development either it is originating from the central nervous system lymphocytes or not. Moreover, scientists found that if PIOL does not originate from the central nervous system is has a better prognosis.

Whether the PIOLs develop into the central nervous system or not, was addressed by Professor MATSUO Toshihiko who an eye specialist and Assistant Professor TANAKA Takehiro who is a pathologist from Okayama University. They followed up with a group of patients for the observation. The observations showed that only a small number of patients developed cancer from the central nervous system lymphoma. It does not spread to the CNS.

The investigators conducted a study on 22 patients including 8 men and 14 women having the age range from 42 to 84 years. They were followed up for about 14 years. All the patients were selected when they get a first-time eye infection.

Out of 22 patients, 12 patients have both the eyes affected due to PIOL, while in remaining patients only one eye is affected. After PIOL has been diagnosed in the patients, all patients underwent vitrectomy, it is a surgery in all or some of the vitreous gel that present between lens and retina of the eye is removed.

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17 patients out of 22 developed eye cancer from the central nervous lymphoma. From the remaining 5, the follow-up period for the 3 patients was short and not completed i.e. 3 years. The other 2 patients also not follow for a long time as they were followed up for 2 and 11 years.

These patients did not receive chemo and radiation therapy-related to eye cancer. After these follow up studies it was concluded by the Matsuo and Tanaka that the development of eye cancer into the central nervous system is not always true.

During the vitrectomy surgery, in some specimens, the presence of protein CD5 was observed by the scientists, which are biomarkers of the central nervous system lymphoma. But this was not true because central nervous lymphoma develops in both the patients who report show positive or negative CD5 value.

So, it was concluded by the Matsuo and Tanaka that currently, it may be difficult to define a certain biomarker to predict the patients with PIOL and if it develops into the central nervous system or not. Perhaps more detailed studies could answer this question in the near future.



Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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