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Case Report: Longitudinal Extensive Transverse Myelitis With Novel Autoantibodies Following Two Rounds of Pembrolizumab

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A 63-year-old male with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer developed longitudinal extensive transverse myelitis (LETM) following two cycles of Pembrolizumab, an immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) targeting the programmed cell death receptor 1 (PD-1). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed centromedullary contrast enhancement at several levels, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cytology showed lymphocytic pleocytosis, and indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) on the primate cerebellum, pancreas, and intestine revealed strong binding of neuronal autoantibodies to unknown antigens. CSF C–X–C motif ligand 13 (CXCL13) was elevated. The patient was treated with plasma exchange (PEX) and intravenous (i.v.) methylprednisolone (MP) 1 g/day for 5 days followed by oral (p.o.) MP 100 mg/day for 10 days with clinical and radiological response. However, after discontinuation of MP, LETM relapsed and the patient developed paralytic ileus presumably due to autoimmune enteropathy and suffered a fatal gastrointestinal sepsis. Findings of novel neuronal autoantibodies and highly elevated CXCL13 in CSF suggest that the severe neurological immune-related adverse event (nirAE) was B-cell mediated contrary to the commonly assumed ICI-induced T-cell toxicity. An individual evaluation of the underlying pathophysiology behind rare nirAEs is essential for choosing treatment regimens and securing optimal outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number655283
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Volume12
ISSN1664-2295
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021

    Research areas

  • case report (source: MeSH NLM), immune checkpoint inhibitors, immune related adverse events, longitudinal extensive transverse myelitis, neurological immune-related adverse effects, PD-1 monoclonal antibody, pembrolizumab, transverse myelitis, case report (source, MeSH NLM)

ID: 66269796