Treating COVID-19 in a Patient with Multiple Myeloma
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A case study of a patient in Wuhan, China, suggests that the immunosuppressant tocilizumab may be an effective COVID-19 treatment for very ill patients who also have multiple myeloma and other blood cancers. The report, published in Blood Advances, also suggests that blood cancer patients may have atypical COVID-19 symptoms.

The patient, a 60-year-old male who had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2015 and was on maintenance therapy, was hospitalized in February for chest tightness and shortness of breath. Although he did not show symptoms of cough or fever, he tested positive for COVID-19 and his illness was classified as severe.

Treatment with antiviral and corticosteroid therapies did not fully resolve his symptoms. On the second day in the hospital, a chest CT scan showed that the patient had ground glass opacities in his lungs, which are a characteristic of pneumonia. His levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory cytokine, were high. After one intravenous administration of tocilizumab, the patient’s IL-6 levels decreased. Three days after tocilizumab treatment, his chest tightness had resolved; 10 days later, his CT scan had cleared and he was discharged from the hospital.

Tocilizumab is commonly used to treat cytokine release syndrome, a systemic inflammatory response that occurs in response to treatment with certain types of immunotherapies. In March 2020, the FDA approved a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of intravenous tocilizumab for the treatment of adult patients with COVID-19.

Source: https://www.hematology.org/newsroom/press-releases/2020/case-study-treating-covid-19
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