Blood cancers

First case of COVID-19 in a patient with multiple myeloma


The immunosuppressant tocilizumab may be a promising option for myeloma patients with COVID-19, a case study from China suggests.

Dr Changcheng Zheng, MD, of the University of Science and Technology of China and colleagues detailed the case of a 60-year-old man with multiple myeloma who was hospitalised with chest tightness and shortness of breath and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.

The patient was initially treated with methylprednisolone but his symptoms did not fully resolve and a chest CT revealed bilateral, multiple ground-glass opacities.

The patient also had high interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels which were treated with 8mg/kg tocilizumab. Three days later his chest tightness had resolved and 10 days he was discharged from hospital.

 

Timeline of symptoms, IL-6 level, and treatment after admission. CT1, first CT scan; CT2, second CT scan; CT3, third CT scan; MP, methylprednisolone; SpO2, peripheral oxygen saturation.

“This case is the first to prove that tocilizumab is effective in the treatment of COVID-19 in MM with obvious clinical recovery; however, randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the safety and efficacy of tocilizumab” the study authors concluded in their ‘exceptional case report’ in Blood Advances.

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