Pirfenidone as salvage treatment for refractory bleomycin-in
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Bleomycin-induced lung injury, a major complication of chemotherapy for germ cell tumors, occasionally fails to respond to the standard treatment with corticosteroids and develops into severe respiratory insufficiency. Little is known about salvage treatment for refractory cases.

Case presentation

A 63-year-old man who had been diagnosed with stage I seminoma and undergone a high orchiectomy 1 year previously developed swelling of his left iliac lymph node and was diagnosed with a recurrence of the seminoma. He was administered a standard chemotherapy regimen of cisplatin, etoposide, and bleomycin. At the end of second cycle, he developed a dry cough and fever that was accompanied by newly-identified bilateral infiltrates on chest X-ray. Despite initiation of oral prednisolone, his exertional dyspnea and decline in pulmonary functions continued to be aggravated. High-dose pulse treatment with methylprednisolone was introduced and improved his symptoms and radiologic findings. However, the maintenance dose of oral prednisolone allowed reactivation of the disease with evidence of newly-developed bilateral lung opacities on high-resolution CT scans. Considering his glucose intolerance and cataracts as complications of corticosteroid treatment, administration of pirfenidone was initiated with the patient’s consent. Pirfenidone at 1800 mg/day was well tolerated, and resolved his symptoms and abnormal opacities on a chest CT scan. Subsequently, the dose of prednisolone was gradually tapered without worsening of the disease.