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Case report
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy following five lines of therapy and three autologous bone marrow transplants for multiple myeloma
  1. Kathryn Knight1,
  2. Siobhan Chien2,
  3. Ioannis Koutsavlis3 and
  4. Victoria Campbell3
  1. 1Core Medical Trainee, NHS Fife, Kirkaldy, UK
  2. 2Foundation Year Doctor, NHS Fife, Kirkaldy, UK
  3. 3Haematology, NHS Fife, Kirkaldy, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ioannis Koutsavlis; ioannis.koutsavlis{at}


A 59-year-old man, with a background of multiply relapsed myeloma, presented with a 3-week history of confusion, short-term memory impairment and behavioural changes. CT head showed bilateral white matter changes and numerous, large lytic lesions of the skull vault. MRI brain revealed multiple areas of hyperintensity on T2-weighted sequences which did not enhance (many of which showed diffusion restriction) unexpectedly bringing progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) into the differential. Initial cerebrospinal fluid studies were largely unremarkable, aside from a mildly elevated protein; cultures were negative. PCR for the John Cunningham (JC) virus was positive. Considering the patient’s medical history and rapidily progressive symptoms, a palliative approach was adopted, with the patient dying 14 days later. We present this case as an example of PML in a patient with multiple myeloma, highlighting the need to consider this diagnosis in an enlarging population of heavily treated, severely immunocompromised, patients.

  • malignant disease and immunosuppression
  • haematology (drugs and medicines)
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  • Contributors KK, IK and VC fully contributed to the writing, revising and approved the final version of the manuscript. SC fully contributed to the writing and approved the final version of the manuscript. IK took consent from family members.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Next of kin consent obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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