Life-threatening disseminated enterovirus infection during combined rituximab and ibrutinib maintenance treatment for mantle cell lymphoma: a case report


J Med Case Rep. 2020 Aug 28;14(1):135. doi: 10.1186/s13256-020-02457-y.


BACKGROUND: Rituximab is a well-established component of treatment regimens for B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Rituximab binds the CD20 antigen on the surface of B lymphocytes, causing an enhanced clearance of malignant and benign B cells. Thus, rituximab leads to depletion of normal B lymphocytes as well, which can cause substantial immunodeficiency. Ibrutinib inhibits the Bruton tyrosine kinase and thereby B-cell activity. It is used for the treatment of different B-lymphocyte malignancies, such as mantle cell lymphoma. Recently, the combination of both drugs has been tested in various clinical scenarios.

CASE PRESENTATION: We present a case of disseminated enterovirus infection resulting from combined rituximab and ibrutinib maintenance treatment in a 57-year-old Caucasian patient. with mantle cell lymphoma. Initially presenting with myositis symptoms, further diagnostic investigation revealed myocarditis, enteritis, myeloencephalitis, and hepatitis. These organ manifestations led to potentially life-threatening complications such as rhabdomyolysis, delirium, and heart rhythm disturbances. After treatment with high-dose intravenous immunoglobulins, virus clearance was achieved and organ functions could be restored.

CONCLUSIONS: This case emphasizes the risk of combined therapy with rituximab/ibrutinib for severe immune-related side effects with the necessity of continuous patient monitoring. High-dose intravenous therapy should be considered as treatment for severe enterovirus infection. In severe enterovirus infections, we recommend subtyping for the development of efficient preventive and therapeutic strategies.