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Atezolizumab in combination with intrathecal chemotherapy and radiation for treatment of isolated cerebral nervous system relapse in a patient with extranodal NK/T cell lymphoma: a case report

  • Lipsitt, Amanda E.1
  • Hung, Jaclyn Y.1
  • Langevin, Anne-Marie1
  • 1 University of Texas Health San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX, 78229, USA , San Antonio (United States)
Published Article
Journal of Medical Case Reports
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Mar 05, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s13256-021-02740-6
Springer Nature


BackgroundExtranodal NK/T cell lymphoma (ENKTL) is an aggressive form of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which historically has a poor prognosis. When relapse occurs, particularly in the cerebral nervous system (CNS), survival is rare. The immune checkpoint pathway family of proteins is highly expressed in many human tumors, especially in EBV-related malignancies. To the best of our knowledge, there are no reports of immune checkpoint inhibitors used either alone or in combination for the treatment of ENTKL CNS relapse, yet there are promising results in metastatic CNS involvement of other malignancies.Case presentationThis is the case of a 29-year-old Hispanic male with ENKTL who was treated at first relapse with 24 doses of the programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) immune checkpoint inhibitor, atezolizumab, over a 17-month period. He remained in remission for 18 months until he experienced an isolated CNS relapse and on-going evidence of chronic EBV infection. Salvage therapy was provided as a combination of triple intrathecal (TIT) chemotherapy, radiation, and atezolizumab. He continues on maintenance atezolizumab and remains alive 1-year post CNS relapse.ConclusionsThe results from this case suggest that atezolizumab should be considered as part of the treatment regimen for relapsed ENKTL. They also demonstrate the benefit of using atezolizumab in combination with TIT chemotherapy and radiation as a viable treatment option for ENKTL CNS relapse and indicate that atezolizumab is an option for long-term maintenance therapy for patients with ENKTL.

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