Research Article

Immune-mediated neuropathy related to bortezomib in a patient with multiple myeloma

Susanne Koeppen*, Jörg Hense, Kay Wilhelm Nolte and Joachim Weis

Published: 03 January, 2022 | Volume 6 - Issue 1 | Pages: 001-004

Treatment options in multiple myeloma (MM) based on novel agents are often limited by dose-related neurotoxicity. Bortezomib, a highly active reversible proteasome inhibitor, frequently causes peripheral neuropathy (PN). Bortezomib-induced PN (BIPN) is characterized by a length-dependent, sensory, axonal polyneuropathy (PNP) with predominant small fiber-affection. Following dose reduction or drug discontinuation, BIPN resolves within 3-4 months in the majority of patients. The pathophysiological mechanisms of BIPN are unclear. Rare cases of a severe demyelinating or mixed BIPN with prominent motor involvement have been attributed to autoimmune or inflammatory reactions. A case report, including nerve pathology, is presented of a 59-year-old man with stage III IgG-κ MM who was treated with bortezomib on the occurrence of progressive disease. After the fourth cycle, he developed a painful distal symmetric sensory PNP followed by gait instability and muscle weakness increasing over 3 months despite early cessation of bortezomib.
Neurological examination revealed a distal flaccid tetraparesis mainly of the lower limbs with sensory loss and severe ataxia, electrophysiological features of a mixed axonal-demyelinating PNP, and pathomorphological evidence of neuritis. Steroid treatment was initiated, and partial recovery of the neurological symptoms within 6 months was observed. While a neurotoxic effect may explain the initial distal sensory disturbances, the worsening of neurological dysfunction after bortezomib withdrawal and the clinical pattern with steroid-responsive muscle weakness predominantly of the legs are consistent with an immune-mediated mechanism. This is in line with the sural nerve biopsy findings. Toxic BIPN followed by an immune-mediated BIPN in the same patient has not been reported before.

Read Full Article HTML DOI: 10.29328/journal.apcr.1001028 Cite this Article Read Full Article PDF


Peripheral neuropathy; Immune mechanisms; Chemotherapy; Bortezomib; Multiple myeloma


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