How lymphoma cells (LCs) invade the brain during the development of central nervous system lymphoma (CNSL) is unclear. We found that NF-κB-induced gliosis promotes CNSL in immunocompetent mice. Gliosis elevated cell-adhesion molecules, which increased LCs in the brain but was insufficient to induce CNSL. Astrocyte-derived CCL19 was required for gliosis-induced CNSL. Deleting CCL19 in mice or CCR7 from LCs abrogated CNSL development. Two-photon microscopy revealed LCs transiently entering normal brain parenchyma. Astrocytic CCL19 enhanced parenchymal CNS retention of LCs, thereby promoting CNSL formation. Aged, gliotic wild-type mice were more susceptible to forming CNSL than young wild-type mice, and astrocytic CCL19 was observed in both human gliosis and CNSL. Therefore, CCL19-CCR7 interactions may underlie an increased age-related risk for CNSL.